Meg Lanning shines in cricket comeback with Victoria

Australian captain Meg Lanning has marked her return to cricket with a fluent half-century to kickstart Victoria’s WNCL campaign at the WACA.

Lanning cruised to 51 off 48 balls against Western Australia, hitting seven boundaries in her first competitive match since March.

The star top-order bat was ruled out of Australia’s Ashes tour this winter by medical staff due to an undisclosed health condition.

It was Lanning’s second extended break from the game in a year after she took indefinite leave in August 2022 due to personal reasons, returning in January to lead Australia to its T20 World Cup triumph in South Africa in March.

The 31-year-old played in the inaugural Women’s Premier League but was withdrawn from the Ashes squad in March.

She was not named in the T20 and ODI squads to face the West Indies in October, as Australian women’s team doctor Pip Inge said: “Meg is progressing well but remains unavailable for competitive cricket.”

Victoria coach Jarrad Loughman said Lanning had been training and “around the team” following a short period of time away after the announcement.

He said Lanning’s presence early in the season before restarting her international career would have a huge impact on his inexperienced side.

“She’s so good when she’s here, she’s just a really good cricket person to have around the group … working with the other players and the young players and she’s fantastic at that,” Loughman told

“So we expect her to maybe play the four games leading into WBBL while she’s not in the Australian squad, which is awesome for us.”

Lanning earnt an early reprieve on three when a streaky drive was caught at gully off a no-ball from Pippa Cleary, but she quickly settled in, belting her 12th delivery over mid-off for six as she tucked into WA’s spinners.

She pulled national teammate Alana King for four before sweeping consecutive Amy Edgar deliveries for boundaries on the way to a half century off 47 balls.

Lanning departed the next ball after she chopped on an off-cutter from medium pacer Zoe Britcliffe.

Georgia Wareham quickly followed, leaving Victoria struggling at 5-109 after 28 overs.

Teenage WA quick Chloe Ainsworth bowled with great control in just her third WNCL match, removing Annabel Sutherland cheaply before finding the outside edge of a frustrated Ellyse Perry as the star chased a wide delivery, claiming figures of 2-8 off her first five overs.

Star keeper-batter Beth Mooney will lead WA in its chase in a single appearance before joining Australia’s squad in preparation for the West Indies series.

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