A near faultless shooting performance from substitute Caitlin Thwaites propelled Australia to an emphatic 83-34 netball victory over Malawi on Wednesday night in Wollongong.
Thwaites shot 41 goals from 42 attempts after being injected into the match at half-time as a substitute for star goal shooter Caitlin Bassett, who had shot 22 from 24.
The Diamonds capitalised on a nervous start from the visitors, with Bassett notching three unanswered goals to start proceedings.
But Malawi quickly overcame its early jitters and was accurate when it reached the circle, goal attack Jane Chimaliro shooting five of six and Mwai Kumwenda six of seven to reduce the hosts’ lead to 13-11 at the end of the first quarter.
The Diamonds took control of the contest in the second quarter, nailing 20 goals with 15 to Bassett from 16 attempts and five from five for Natalie Medhurst to take a commanding 33-19 half-time lead.
Thwaites took the court in the second half alongside goal attack Erin Bell in the circle and nailed all of her 22 attempts in the third quarter, while the Diamonds restricted the Malawi shooters to just five goals in the the term.
The visitors continued to have no answer for Thwaites in the fourth quarter, as Australia flexed their muscle after a 4-1 series win over New Zealand.
The 26-year-old racked up another 19 goals with the one blemish on her night coming midway through the final term.
Meanwhile the loss has invited mixed reactions back home with some feeling the exclusion of key players had affected the team’s performance.
The squad in Australia includes captain Caroline Mtukule with Joanna Kachilika as his deputy. Other players in the squad include Towera Vinkhumbo, Jessie Mazengera, Tina Kamzati, Takondwa Lwazi, BridgetKumwenda, Martha Dambo, Joyce Mvula, Jane Chimaliro.
Mwawi Kumwenda joined the squad in Australia over the weekend.
Head coach Griffin Saenda dropped five out of 18 players and also missing from the squad are is shooter Sindie Simtowe, defender Grace Mwafulirwa and centre court Beatrice Mpinganjira all from Tigresses due to indcsipline.