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Molineux rapt to spin magic again after two long years

Sophie Molineux is delighted to be back spinning some magic again after two long, injury-hit years were followed by her conjuring up a remarkable double in the space of a week in India and Bangladesh.

Just seven days after her dazzling burst of three wickets in four balls was instrumental in the left-armer winning the Women's Premier League final with Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Delhi, Molineux proved Australia's player of the match with three wickets in their ODI victory over Bangladesh in Dhaka on Sunday.

It was a dream comeback for the 26-year-old Victorian who had been sidelined for a prolonged spell by serious foot and knee injuries and hadn't played an ODI for her country since facing India in October 2021.

Molineux spins magic
Molineux took a match-winning 3-10 off her 10 overs against Bangladesh. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

"It was a long two years I suppose," admitted Molineux, after her fiendishly miserly 3-10 off 10 overs proved the star turn amid a fine team spinning display which skittled out the hosts for 97 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium before Australia eased home by six wickets to take a series-sealing 2-0 lead.

"It's just nice to be back to be honest ... getting back into it, I'm just happy to be playing cricket and happy to be playing in any colours at the moment - and even better to play for Australia again.

"I've got a lot of really close mates here and I can say that this group of players are really building something special. So to be part of it, and contributing, it's pretty cool."

Molineux was sure her successful spell with RCB in India's Women's Premier League had helped sharpen her for her Australia return once she'd been drafted in to the team at the expense of pace bowler Kim Garth with the visitors opting for a four-pronged spin attack.

"It's definitely helped," she said. "I think just getting some match experience in as well.

"That's one thing you sort of miss out on when you don't play for a while, trying to keep up and catch up with the game. So I think going over there (to India) probably helped me to have a few more matches under my belt, with some intensity as well."

Molineux going at one run per over while bowling five maidens and taking her three wickets was backed up admirably by Alana King's 2-15, Georgia Wareham's 2-30 and Ash Gardner's 2-22 as the Aussie spinners took 9-77 between them.

It's been an ideal start to the Australians' white-ball tour - with another ODI on Wednesday and three T20s to come - as they seek to get a feel for the sort of conditions they'll face at the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later in the year.

"We knew it was going to be a challenge coming over here as the back end of our season at home," said Molineux.

"With the different conditions and the Bangladesh girls going from strength to strength, it's a great opportunity for us be over here. We knew it was going to be a tricky series and that we still have a lot to work on and to grow as team."