A lot of positives from the Tests against England and Australia, feels Mithali Raj
Smriti Mandhana’s flowing off-side drives, Jhulan Goswami’s impeccable line-and-length, Meghna Singh’s swing, Punam Raut’s bold decision to walk… India’s women cricketers ensured that their first outing with a pink ball under lights was a memorable one.
Lightning and rain may have forced the one-off Day-Night Test to end in a draw at Carrara on Sunday, but India did remarkably well to dictate terms against a formidable and more experienced Australian team right from the opening hour. Captain Mithali Raj called it one of India’s “most dominating performances” ever in a Test.
It certainly was. The Aussies were forced to chase the game throughout after Meg Lanning won the toss and invited India to bat.
If much of the first two days hadn’t been lost to bad weather, Mithali’s women would have been in a great position to press for a win. Replying to India’s 377 for eight declared, the host was in the danger of a follow-on. It was averted by a resolute, unbeaten 68 off 203 balls by the magnificent Ellyse Perry.
The Indians may have been undone by the elements, but before the Test, they had put an end to Australia’s stunning streak of 26 ODI wins. They took that momentum to the Test. That they had just two training sessions with the pink ball in the run-up to the Test seemed irrelevant.
Forget the pink ball, the Indian women are not used to playing much even with the red one. The Test against England at Bristol in June was their first in seven years. Unlike the Test in Carrara, the Indians had to play catch up in England. They did that in some style.
Snatching a draw
Following on, debutants Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia’s heroic, unbroken 104-run stand for the ninth wicket helped India snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.
Mithali said India could take away a lot of positives from the Tests against England and Australia.
“Sneh, Taniya and Deepti Sharma did well in England,” she said. “In Australia, Smrti’s hundred was fabulous. All our seamers bowled well too. Along with Jhulan, the two young seamers (Meghna and Pooja Vastrakar) have really stood up.”