My top five career moments

 

Winning three World Cup titles

Australia have won three ICC titles since Lanning’s debut: the first was the Women’s World T20 title in Sri Lanka in 2012, when the Southern Stars edged out England by just four runs in a thriller. In 2013, Australia defeated West Indies in the final to take out the 50-over World Cup title, then just one year later, Lanning was named captain of the team to contest the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, filling in for injured skipper Jodie Fields. She led the team to a six-wicket victory over England in the final, scoring a 30-ball 44 in the process.

With the 2012 win against England in Sri Lanka, I was very new to the team, I think it was only my second year in the side and I was opening the batting with Alyssa Healy. I just remember how hot it was in Sri Lanka, so that was one of the biggest things, and we played England in the final. We’d lost to them in the round game and we batted first, making 142 which was pretty good for T20s in those days, and we were able to defend it. I came into a very successful team and loved being a part of that.

Then the next year again, we went to India for the 50-over World Cup. We travelled around India a fair bit on that tour, spent some time in Cuttack which was an interesting experience and then played the final in Mumbai against West Indies, who we’d lost to a few days before that. It was Lisa Sthalekar’s last game for Australia and she took the winning catch at the end of the game. Again, it was a very new experience for me and I hadn't really established myself in the team yet – I was just going with the flow and I was lucky I came in a really successful time.

Then the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, I was captain so it was quite a bit different. The captaincy was all very new to me and we didn't start off that well in the round games. We lost to New Zealand, scraped through against South Africa and then needed to play well in the last two round games to get through and we were able to do that. Then we smashed England in the final which is one of my favorite games I’ve played. We chose to bowl first, which didn't happen very often in T20s back in those days – I remember me and our coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick having that discussion about what we were going to do – but we decided to bowl first and put them under pressure. We kept them to 105 and then we just smashed them with the bat, so that was a pretty satisfying win.

Elyse Villani, Julie Hunter, Meg Lanning and Jess Cameron pose with the trophy in the changing rooms after winning the the ICC Women's World Twenty20 final against England in 2014

Elyse Villani, Julie Hunter, Meg Lanning and Jess Cameron pose with the trophy in the changing rooms after winning the the ICC Women's World Twenty20 final against England in 2014

Defending 107 to win the 2015 Ashes

Australia hadn’t won an Ashes series in the UK since 2001, and England held the trophy after winning Down Under in 2013-14. Lanning’s team headed into the third and final leg of the multi-format series needing just one win from three T20Is to take back the Ashes. After being soundly beaten in the first 20-over match in Chelmsford, they successfully defeated a low total of 7-107 in Hove to seal the Ashes with one game to play.

We went over and played Ireland in three T20s after the Ashes Test, so we had a lot of time to stew over that one win that we needed to win the Ashes. In the first T20 we didn't bat well, we made 122 and they chased it down really easily at Chelmsford – the ground they call the fortress.

The second T20 was at Hove and again they sent us in after I lost another toss. We struggled our way to 107 and it shouldn’t have been enough, but for some reason we were able to click with the ball and we got really early wickets, four or five early wickets, and they just went into their shells and refused to score. They were pretty much blocking us out for most of it and I think their run rate ended up getting up to about eight or nine runs per over, which is incredible when you're chasing 107. Then I remember when Lydia Greenway hit the ball to Jess Jonassen at long on and she caught it and that was the final wicket - it’s just one of those victories that stays in your mind. There’s the significance of it being what won us the Ashes, but the way it happened was definitely one of the best wins I've been involved in.

Meg celebrates winning the Ashes during the 3rd NatWest T20 of the Women's Ashes Series in 2015

Meg celebrates winning the Ashes during the 3rd NatWest T20 of the Women's Ashes Series in 2015

Running out England’s Heath Knight during the 2015 Ashes

After losing the opening ODI of the 2015 multi-format Ashes, Australia were desperate to get their first points in the second one-dayer in Bristol. They scored 6-259 largely thanks to a century from Lanning, but when England openers Heather Knight and Charlotte Edwards were cruising at 0-92 in after 20 overs, the hosts looked on track for back-to-back wins. That is, until a piece of magic from Lanning, whose direct hit ran out Knight for 38. England crumbled to be all out for 196, handing Australia a 63-run win.

Heather Knight, very unlucky to be run out by me. That was in Bristol in the second ODI. We’d lost the first match and they were chasing 260. They were none for a lot and they were cruising along. Then she hit this ball to me at short mid-wicket and I dived in and stopped it, and then got on to my knees and threw the stumps down. That doesn’t happen a lot. We got the momentum from there and it changed the game. It’s one bit of fielding and throwing that I remember being a pretty key moment.

My century at Mount Maunganui in 2017

With the ODI series against New Zealand tied 1-1 and the Rose Bowl trophy on the line, Lanning scored a match-winning 104no to help Australia to a final over, five-wicket victory at Mount Maunganui. It was her 10th ODI century, passing the record held by former England captain Charlotte Edwards.

It was the end of the season and we’d all played a lot of cricket. We were coming off the T20 series against New Zealand where we won the first one and then we didn't chase down 100 in the next two, so we were under a fair bit of pressure from the media.

We weren't performing well, we were heading into an ODI World Cup and confidence in the side was probably pretty low. We also lost the first ODI and knowing that we’d held the Rose Bowl since 1999, the pressure was on. We were able to win the second ODI and then it came down to the last one. We sent them in, I think I won that toss, and then we were chasing 270 to win the series.

There was a little bit of controversy in that game, a question whether I was out stumped or not stumped. But the umpire said it was not out and there was no video, so I don’t know how he could have overturned his decision. I don't often fight with opposition players, but there were a few words exchanged during that one which probably fired me up a fair bit. I ended up being not out on a 104 and we won that game, so that was a pretty satisfying hundred.

I don't take too much notice of records, for me it’s about winning games for Australia. That was a perfect occasion where we needed someone to step up and anchor the innings and bat through and I just really enjoyed that game.

My catch against England during the 2018 T20 tri-series in India

Lanning returned to the Australian team for the 2018 tour of India after sitting out seven months due to shoulder surgery. Her shoulder was still on the mend during that tour and she was still unable to throw overarm, so it’s safe to say hearts were in mouths when she took a spectacular diving catch to her right against England, landing on the joint.

I reckon I've got a few more degrees of range in my shoulder after that one, I wasn’t really sure I could reach that far. It was one of those instant catches where you see it and you know it’s going to be a difficult one but you just throw your hand up and hope for the best.

That was probably one of the best catches I've ever taken and Nat Sciver is a very good player as well so we were able to get her out and smash England that day which is already good.

I was happy the shoulder came through, it was still attached, which I had been a bit nervous about it. But sometimes you need to get into a game and just let instinct take over to realise what you can do. In training you're always ‘oh, I don't want to get injured at training and try new things’, but in games you just go with your instinct a bit more. It came through fine, so that was a bit of a tick for the shoulder.