Indian Women Shine in Pink Ball Test Debut Against Australia; Match Drawn
Smriti Mandhana was named player of the match for her century in the first innings.
India tried to force a result on the final day of the pink-ball Test at Metricon Stadium, but with not much time left due to rain during the first two days, the tourists' attempts to force a win against Australia were futile and the match ended in a draw on Sunday.
Both teams pocketed two points from the drawn Test, which keeps Australia in the lead in the multi-format series 6-4. But it was India who gave a better account of themselves in their first-ever pink-ball Test with both bat and ball.
Starting the day at 143/3, Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner went on to share an 89-run stand before Meghna Singh and Pooja Vastrakar triggered a batting collapse. With the new ball just nine deliveries away, Ashleigh, given a life at 20, was out with Mithali Raj pulling off a diving catch at mid-off off Deepti Sharma. Meghna took her maiden Test wicket with a lovely outswinger to get Annabel Sutherland caught behind. Four overs later, Meghna had her second wicket of the day with an inswinger trapping Sophie Molineux lbw.
Three overs later, Pooja had Georgia Wareham caught behind off an outswinger. A drive past mid-off by Darcie Brown meant that Australia avoided the follow-on. Amidst the wicket-taking spree, Ellyse was the lone ranger with the bat with luck on her side. She was first dropped by Deepti at gully on 58. Then, on 61, a healthy edge off her bat was shelled by Taniya Bhatia. After Darcie fell lbw to Deepti, captain Meg Lanning declared the innings at 241/9 with Ellyse unbeaten on 68, giving India a lead of 136 runs.
India began their second innings well as Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma put 70 runs for the opening partnership. Smriti, the centurion of the first innings, fell to a splendid catch in the deep by Ashleigh running to her right from deep mid-wicket off Sophie.
Yastika Bhatia's promotion to number three to up the scoring rate lasted for 12 balls as Ashleigh disturbed her stumps through the gate. Shafali was undeterred and marched to her third half-century in just her second Test match with a four down the ground. Four overs later, Shafali was trapped lbw by leg-spinner Georgia Wareham for her first Test wicket.
Punam Raut raced to her 41 runs in 62 balls before India declared their second innings at 135/3 in 37 overs, setting Australia a target of 272 in 32 overs. The hosts lost openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney in the first ten overs. While Alyssa chopped on to her stumps off Jhulan Goswami, Beth's top-edge on the pull lobbed to deep backward square leg off Pooja. It took effort from Meg and Ellyse to take Australia to 36/2 in 15 overs before both captains shook hands, signalling the end of the Test in a draw.
The focus will now shift to the final leg of the multi-format series featuring three T20Is on October 7, 9 and 10.
Brief scores: India 377 for 8 declared in 145 overs and 135/3 in 37 overs (Shafali Verma 52, Punam Raut 41 not out, Ashleigh Gardner 1/21, Sophie Molineux 1/23) against Australia 241 for 9 declared in 96.4 overs (Ellyse Perry 68, Ashleigh Gardner 51, Pooja Vastrakar 3/63, Jhulan Goswami 2/33) and 36/2 in 15 overs (Meg Lanning 17 not out, Beth Mooney 11, Jhulan Goswami 1/8, Pooja Vastrakar 1/13).
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