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Gardner's subcontinental slump follows stellar year with bat and ball

Jarred Cross -

Ash Gardner will be looking to snap a lean run of form and end Australia's tour of India on a high in Thursday's final T20I after early highlights in the opening test last month.

In Sunday's second T20, the 26-year-old went for 8.25 without a wicket in her four overs with the ball, and added just seven runs in her side's successful chase of the hosts' total of 130 to level the series.

The match, headlined by long-time champion Ellyse Perry sealing the win in her 300th international appearance, continued a modest return since a devastating short patch ripping through India's middle order during their opening innings in the sole test.

India went on to post 406 in their first dig, and secure an eight-wicket win before moving onto the limited overs fixtures.

Across the following three ODIs, Gardner struggled to impose herself on the contest and carried that form into the first two games in the shortest format.

In the 50 over campaign, the Muruwari woman added a total of 39 runs and bowling figures of 4-147 with ball-in-hand while Australia swept the series.

Gardner carried that form into the T20 matches with a first ball duck and 0-24 with the ball in Friday's opener.

It comes after a stellar calendar year in 2023, leading women's international cricket with 58 dismissals from 29 matches.

Within that, her bowling averages sat below 20 runs in all three formats - under 17 in tests and ODIs.

Her career limited overs bowling average in the subcontinent sits at 18.85 from 12 T20s and 29.33 from six ODIs, with her numbers from last month's first test in the country falling in between.

In the current tour of India, that bowling average across all formats has ballooned above 30.

She also made handy contributions with the bat through the year, culminating in being shortlisted for the ICC's Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy for Women's Cricketer of the Year, and One-Day Cricketer of the Year awards.

Gardner had one last chance to leave a stamp on the tour, before returning home to host South Africa for one test and six white ball games.

Australia end their tour with their third T20 against India on Wednesday night.

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