Pink Ball Test: India earn bragging rights in draw against Australia | Cricket News – Times of India

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Shafali, bowlers impress as Australia get lucky
In the end, former Australia allrounder turned commentator Lisa Sthalekar hit the nail on the head when she said: ‘It was India’s Test match.’ In a game which many thought they would lose easily against a formidable opponent, the Indian women’s team dominated Australia from start to finish, with only the lack of time due to bad weather and some resolute batting by Ellyse Perry (68*, 203b, 9×4) in the first session allowing the hosts to wriggle out with a draw in the pink ball Day/Night Test at the Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast.
It’s hard to believe that just two days of net practice with the pink ball was enough for the Indians to leave such a huge impression in their maiden Test with it. In fact, this stellar performance can be directly contrasted to how the Indian men’s team caved in during the pink ball Test last year, collapsing to an embarrassing 36 in a humiliating defeat inside three days. With the India women’s team’s next Test not in immediate sight, this could be the last time the two legends of the team – batter Mithali Raj and pacer Jhulan Goswami -played Test cricket. Clearly, the veteran players couldn’t have hoped for a better game as their last – India played Australia after 15 years in a Test, and unlike on that occasion in Adelaide in 2006 when they were hammered by an innings- this time they were in the driver’s seat throughout.

Shafali Verma during her half-century knock in the second innings against Australia.
While Smriti Mandhana was justifiably named as the ‘Player of the Match’ for her sublime hundred on Day Two, teenaged batting sensation Shafali Verma slammed 52 (91b, 6×4) in the second innings – slamming her third fifty in just her second Test. Following on their 167-run opening stand in the one-off Test against England at Bristol a couple of months back, the pair added 93 in the first innings and 70 in the second.
However, at the heart of India’s super show at Carrara was a fabulous show by India’s pace bowling trio of the experienced Jhulan Goswami, and especially debutant Meghna Singh, and Pooja Vastrakar, who, with four for 72 (3-49 & 1-13), was the top wicket-taker of the match. Before the game, Mithali had said that this was India’s best-ever pace bowling attack, and her bowlers lived up to that billing by their skipper.

ON TOP OF HER GAME: Jhulan Goswami appeals for the wicket Meg Lanning on the 4th day.
Testing the Aussie batters by pitching the ball up consistently and getting it to move menacingly from the good length area, the Indian seamers comfortably outbowled their Aussie counterparts, who were wayward and too short for most of the time. Since this could be the last Test for the 38-year-old Jhulan, Meghna and Vastrakar’s fine show can only be music to the fans of Indian women’s cricket.
On the morning of the final day, Perry and Ashleigh Gardner (51, 86b, 6×4) frustrated India with their 109-run stand for the fifth wicket. The visitors came roaring back with five wickets for just 32 runs in a 105-ball spell, but the ‘Southern Stars’ managed to avoid the follow on. Giving the Indians a sniff of a win, the Aussies gave the match an interesting twist by declaring at 241 for nine. Following the sporting declaration, India needed to bat briskly to dangle a carrot for the Aussies. However, they chose a ‘safety-first approach,’ scoring 135 in 37 overs before asking their rivals to go for an improbable chase of 272 in 32 overs in the final innings – the last session of the match.

Brief Scores: India 377-8 decl (Deepti Sharma 66) &135-3 decl (Shafali Verma 52, Poonam Raut 41*, Smriti Mandhana 31) vs Australia 241-9 decl (Ellyse Perry 68*, Asheligh Gardner 51; Pooja Vastrakar 3-51) & 36-2





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