Ahead of India women’s first-ever day-night Test, there were some doubts over how they will perform given their lack of game time against the pink ball. But, on day one of the one-off Test in Carrara Oval, Queensland, all the doubts over the effectiveness of the Indian batters were put to bed by opening batter Smriti Mandhana.
On a start-stop day, Mandhana looked extremely stylish against the Aussie attack as she raced to her highest Test score. It was only after Aussie skipper Meg Lanning won the toss and much to the surprise of a lot of experts, elected to bowl first. For India, Rajeshwari Gayakwad was chosen ahead of Sneh Rana, who had done well in England but was always going to lose out on a spot given the presence of off-spinner Deepti Sharma.
Meghna Singh made her debut alongside Yastika Bhatia. For Australia, there were four debutantes, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Darcie Brown, and Stella Campbell. But, none of them would remember their first day wearing the baggy green quite fondly. And, it was due to some good batting display by the Indians.
Rain plays hide and seek; only 44 overs possible on day one
Shafali Verma, who had previously scored twin fifties on her Test debut just a couple of months back, failed to get another score of more than fifty but did manage to form a good opening stand with Mandhana. The left-handed batter, on the other end, was extremely fluent taking on the Aussie bowling attack.
The pair put on 93 runs in 25 overs, with Mandhana sharing a bulk of those runs. Verma was dismissed by Sophie Molineux for 31 runs. At no. 3, Punam Raut walked in and supported the opener for another very handy partnership. But, there was rain and thunderstorms on the gold coast which prevented play in the second half of the day. Tea was called early but no play was possible after that.
Mandhana stayed unbeaten on 80 from 144 deliveries while Raut played a patient knock of 16 runs from 57 balls. India ended the day on 132 for 1. Only 44.1 overs were possible on day one, which would be disappointing, as 100 were expected. In fact, 33 overs were played in the first session. As many as seven bowlers were used by Lanning but only Molineux got some control and success.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) September 30, 2021
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 30, 2021
Hope she gets to his maiden test 100; first thing tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/3nMjd39fjn
— Karamdeep (@oyeekd) September 30, 2021
Smriti Mandhana became the 3rd Indian woman to cross 4500 runs in international cricket today.
— Krithika (@krithika0808) September 30, 2021
— Raja Sekhar Cricket (@CricketWithRaju) September 30, 2021
Frustrating day. Rain might be a blessing for the Aussies with momentum starting to swing in this series. Mandhna will be a very important wicket tomorrow. Play starts (weather permitting) 2pm #AUSvIND
— QUENTIN HULL (@QuentinHull) September 30, 2021
Okay my respect for @CricketAus has increased ten fold when i heard @sthalekar93 say that Mitch Starc is helping Ellyse Perry with her runup & also with the pink bowl. How i wish we produced such humble men in India. #AUSvIND
— Ananya Sarkar (@onnonya_tweets) September 30, 2021
— Anuj Mishra (@areyMishraaa) September 30, 2021
— Ananya Upendran (@a_upendran11) September 30, 2021
Congratulations to our four Baggy Green recipients 💫
— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) September 30, 2021
India looking comfortable at the moment. Not as much pace in the wicket that the Aussies were hoping for!! #AUSvIND
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) September 30, 2021