Ashleigh Gardner in action. ©Cricket Australia

Australia defeated Pakistan by 89-run margin to whitewash the ODI series 3-0. Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner starred for their side, lifting them up to a mammoth 324-7.

Having won the toss, Australia elected to bat first. It was Pakistan however, who got off to a stronger start. Nicole Bolton was dismissed for a golden duck by Sana Mir, in the second over. Meg Lanning followed Bolton back to the dugout soon afterwards, scoring a 14 off 25.

Healy and Ellyse Perry- who was playing in her 100th ODI and 200th international match- then put on a 108 run third wicket stand. Diana Baig finally made the breakthrough. Just three runs short of her century, Healy was bowled by Baig. Three runs later, Perry was given LBW, having made a patient 32 off 64 balls. Towards the end of the innings, Gardener reached her maiden fifty, hammering an unbeaten 37-ball-62, supported by Sophie Molineux. She, in her maiden ODI batting innings, scored a well-made 26 off 25 balls. Useful contributions from Rachael Haynes (30 off 37) and Beth Mooney (38 off 36) also helped Australia to post a daunting 324-7 on the board.

Mir was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, taking three wickets for 53 runs while bowling two maidens. Anam Amin took two wickets, while Aliya Riaz and Diana Baig chipped in with a scalp each.

In the second innings, Pakistan put in a better performance with the bat than they had previously. However, their run rate was nowhere near what it was needed to be, to chase a total as big as the one they were. By the end of the ninth over, the Pakistani openers had only managed 49 runs. The opening partnership was broken by Gardener, who had Muneeba Ali caught on 15 by Molineux.

Debutant Tayla Vlaeminck took a crucial wicket for her side, dismissing Pakistan’s captain Javeria Khan, for six. This wicket reduced Pakistan to 82-3. A 49-run stand between Nida Dar (30 off 37) and Sidra Ameen (41 off 74) helped salvage the innings. Riaz scored her first international fifty. She took 69 balls to reach the milestone, including being stranded on 48 for seven balls, as the tension built. When she finally did score the run needed, she threw her hands in the air in relief. Mir contributed with a 24-ball-26, the fourth highest strike rate of her career.

Pakistan finished their innings on 235-7. They fell 89 runs short of the target. But, for them, the fact that they batted out their full 50 overs, against a quality bowling side will be of great comfort.

Vlaeminck, Molineux and Nicola Carey took a wicket each. Gardener shone with the ball as well, taking three wickets for 44 runs. Her all-round brilliance won her Player-of-the-Match honours. Australia skipper Meg Lanning took away the Player of the Series Award.

Australia whitewashed the ODI series 3-0. They now go clear to the top of the ICC Women’s Championship points table. With 16 points to their name, they are four points ahead of New Zealand, who are number two.