INDW vs AUSW: Australia struggling at 143/4 in reply to India’s 377/8d


India declared their first innings at 377 for eight on the third day of the rain-marred women’s day/night Test against Australia on Saturday. And then their bowling duo of Jhulan Goswami and Pooja Vastrakar made early inroads, picking up two wickets each to leave their hosts struggling.

At stumps on Day 2, Australia were 143/4 with Ellyse Perry keeping the innings together, batting on 27 off 98 alongside Ashleigh Gardner on 13 not out as they trail India by 234 runs.

The visitors declared their innings shortly after Deepti Sharma’s dismissal for 167-ball 66-run knock at the Carrara Oval. Sharma struck eight boundaries to notch her best Test score, a day after opener Smriti Mandhana grabbed the headline with a magnificent maiden century in the format. All-rounder Sharma got out shortly after the dinner break.

It is the best batting day and India capitalising on it. They have only one wicket of Tanya Bhatia and are moving along quite well. Bhatia fell to Stella Campbell for 22, but Deepti Sharma is batting well and has Pooja Vastrakar for company. India have gone well past the 300-run mark.

Rain wiped out a significant part of the second day’s play after India opener Smriti Mandhana stole the limelight with a magnificent maiden Test hundred in the historic women’s day/night match against Australia in Gold Coast on Friday.

India were 276 for five in 101.5 overs when lightning forced the players indoors some time after the dinner break, meaning more than a session’s play was wasted due to inclement weather. The lightning was followed by rain, rendering the outfield wet.

The Carrara Oval’s excellent drainage system notwithstanding, play could not resume as the outfield needed more than a few hours to dry, even after the super-sopper was employed by the proactive ground-staff.

The umpires inspected at 8.30 pm local time before arriving at the decision to call off the remaining day’s play, the second time after a similar experience during the opening day’s play on Thursday.

Deepti Sharma was batting on 12 and Taniya Bhatia was yet to open her account as the players walked off the field and covers were brought on.

There will be 108 overs bowled on each of the last two days of the match.

India lost two wickets in the second session, including that of skipper Mithali Raj for 30 and debutant Yastika Bhatia for 19. Mithali, who was looking good for a big one, was run out after playing a few lovely shots.

Earlier, flamboyant opener Mandhana shattered a few records en route to slamming a magnificent Test century as India progressed to 231/3 in the second day’s opening session.

At the dinner break, India were strongly placed, having started the proceedings at 132 for one.

The 25-year-old Mandhana became the first Indian woman to hit a century in day-night Tests and also the first from the country to reach three figures in the game’s traditional format on the Australian soil.

Mandhana made 127 off 216 balls with the help of 22 boundaries and a six at the Carrara Oval, and added an Indian record of 102 runs in Australia for the second wicket with Punam Raut (36), continuing the good work after putting on 93 with Shafali Verma on the opening day.

She brought her century with a short-arm pull shot off Ellysse Perry in the 52nd over.

Mandhana wouldn’t have added to her overnight score of 80 in the second over of Day 2 but Perry overstepped. Replays showed that the catch too might have been debatable.

The India opener, however, overcame the early jitters and went about her business in a professional manner while playing some lovely shots, including a magnificent straight drive off Annabel Sutherland.

She looked set for more but was caught at short mid-off off the bowling Ash Gardner, after playing an uppish drive.

Raut walked off after a caught behind appeal despite the umpire not entertaining Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning’s loud shouts.

Mithali though got into the job straightaway, sweeping and driving Gardner for fours.