Smriti Mandhana’s maiden Test century has put India in the driving seat against Australia in the opening session of Day 2 of the one-off pink-ball Test here at the Carrara Oval in Queensland on Friday.
Queensland [Australia], October 1 : At Dinner, India’s score read 231/3 with Yastika Bhatia (2*) and Mithali Raj (15*) unbeaten at the crease. Hosts scalped the wickets of Smriti Mandhana (127) and Punam Raut (36) in the opening session. Resuming the second day on 132-1, Mandhana and Punam Raut continued with their A-game as they frustrated the Aussies bowling attack. The first big highlight of the day came when Smriti Mandhana was caught by Beth Mooney at the score of 80. But turned out it was a no ball from Ellyse Perry.
After that gift by hosts, Smriti continued taking the attack to the opposition as she reached the triple figure mark in the 52nd over of the innings after smashing two fours off Ellyse Perry. The Indian opener was clinical throughout as she punished anything too full or too short with a host of impressive drives and pulls to completely nullify Australia’s pace battery.
Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut then procceded to stitch a century partnership between them. After trying several pace bowling combinations, Meg Lanning went with spinners on both ends to counter India’s attacking game. And soon the decision by the captain was rewarded as Ashleigh Gardner ended the brilliant partnership by removing centurion Mandhana in the 69th over. The Indian opener walked back after being caught by Tahlia McGrath on 127 off 216 balls.
Mithali Raj then joined Raut on the pitch and the duo mixed caution with delightful strokeplay as runs kept coming for India. In the 81st over, Punam Raut did what very few batters do in the modern game. After a 165-ball stay at the crease, she pushed forward to one from Molineux that — for all intents and purposes — looked like a play-and-miss. The muffled appeals from Australia suggested they weren’t too convinced as did the umpire, who shook his head. But Raut walked back to the pavilion.
After that Yastika Bhatia joined Raj in the middle and ensured that India do not lose any more wickets in the opening session.
Breif Scores: India 231/3 (Smriti Mandhana 127, Punam Raut 36; Sophie Molineux 2-22, Ashleigh Gardner 1-26) vs Australia.