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PIX: Mandhana's career-best gives India Day 1 honours

Source: PTI
September 30, 2021 18:25 IST
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Smriti Mandhana was unbeaten on 80 off 144 balls, inclusive of 15 boundaries and a six, in India's total of 132 for 1.

India's Smriti Mandhana bats during Day 1 of the one-off day/night  women's Test against Australia, at Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia, on Thursday.

IMAGE: India's Smriti Mandhana bats during Day 1 of the one-off day/night women's Test against Australia, at Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia, on Thursday. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Smriti Mandhana headlined a rain-hit opening day with a career-best 80 not out, which had elegance written all over it, as India finished on 132 for 1 in the one-off Day/Night women’s Test against Australia, in Gold Coast, on Thursday.

 

Mandhana peppered the off-side field repeatedly with some gorgeous shots to reach 80 off 144 balls, inclusive of 15 boundaries and a six. She was involved in a 93-run opening stand with Shafali Verma (31 off 64 balls).

Sophie Molineux celebrates with team mates after dismissing Shafali Verma.

IMAGE: Sophie Molineux celebrates with teammates after dismissing Shafali Verma. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Most of the second session's play was washed out, but Mandhana added another 16 runs to surpass her previous best of 78.

She pulled Tahlia McGrath for a six over deep square leg and also carted the same bowler over mid-wicket for a boundary.

Giving her company was Punam Raut (16 not out off 57 balls). The pair added 39 runs for the unbroken second-wicket stand before rain stopped play in the 45th over and forced an early end to the day’s proceedings.

The Australian team's decision to field first after laying a green strip for the visitors did seem to have backfired, as Mandhana attacked them straightaway during the first hour of play.

There were an astounding 16 boundaries hit in the first 16 overs, mostly by Mandhana, as Meg Lanning did shuffle around her bowlers without much success.

In fact, it was a case of role reversal which perhaps caught the Australians off-guard, as Shafali was more intent on playing a defensive game while her senior partner attacked with gusto.

Debutant Darcie Brown got special punishment as Mandhana hit her for a number of boundaries both on the off-side as well as a few whip shots on the leg-side.

Shafali Verma scored 31 off 64 balls before being dismissed by Sophie Molineux.

IMAGE: Shafali Verma scored 31 off 64 balls before being dismissed by Sophie Molineux. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Ellyse Perry also took a few overs to find the right length. The elegant Indian left-hander reached her run-a-ball fifty in no time with a cover drive off McGrath.

Whenever Mandhana bisected between point and cover, or cover or mid-off, it was a pleasant sight.

In the case of Shafali, she did hit four boundaries but also looked a bit scratchy and offered a couple of chances -- one to Meg Lanning in the slips which was a reflex catch and the other to Annabel Sutherland, stationed at mid-on.

Finally, she was out trying to hit left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux against the turn and offered a sitter to McGrath at mid-off.

Once spinners Molineux (1/18) and Ashleigh Gardener (0/14 in 10.1) bowled with the semi-new pink Kookaburra, Australia finally found a way to check the run-flow.

The alteration of speed in their deliveries made Mandhana show some more patience than what she displayed during that first hour.

Her first 51 runs came off 50 deliveries and the next 29 off 94 while Raut also played her customary defensive game. A total of 300-plus will certainly keep India firmly in the game.

Scorecard       

India (1st Innings):

Smriti Mandhana not out 80

Shafali Verma c Tahlia McGrath b Molineux 31

Punam Raut not out 16

Extras: (W-5) 5

Total: (for 1 wkt, 44.1 overs) 132

Fall of wickets: 1-93

Bowling: Ellyse Perry 7-1-24-0, Darcie Brown 4-0-28-0, Stella Campbell 3-0-14-0, Tahlia McGrath 10-1-34-0, Sophie Molineux 9-4-18-1, Ashleigh Gardner 10.1-3-14-0, Annabel Sutherland 1-1-0-0.

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