BUILD UP TO AUSTRALIA-INDIA WOMEN’S MAIDEN PINK-BALL ENCOUNTER.

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After a thrilling and highly competitive 3 match ODI series it’s now time for action in whites. India will dawn their whites after nearly 3 months of time as India last played England in June for a one-off red ball test while Australia last played a test match way back in 2019. Australia-India are meeting after 15 years for a test match and it being a pink-ball test it’s very special, this will be India’s first pink ball test appearance while Australia do hold a bit of experience of the pink-ball as back in 2017 they played a away pink ball test in England and dominated.

India do have a good opening pair in Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana, Shafali’s struggled with short ball and she’ll expect a barrage, the maturity she showed carrying her innings in the 3rd ODI will be a huge bonus to the team. India’s strength is the experience that the middle order holds but there are concerns; Mithali Raj’s looked good, Harmanpreet Kaur remains unavailable as she’s yet to recover from her thumb injury and that’ll either see experienced Punam Raut back or young gun who’s impressed a lot, Yastika Bhatia.

Lower middle order and the tailenders have often saved games and have helped India finish big and the same will be expected, Richa Ghosh hasn’t looked tidy with the gloves and that should straightaway see Taniya Bhatia dawning the gloves, India will surely miss Richa Ghosh the batter and might look to pick one of Richa and Yastika, if India wish to extend their batting lineup they can look to drop Rajeshwari Gayakwad and play a extra batter. Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana are both likely to play, both have delivered cameos, have contributed to the team when needed the most and will be India’s spin twin along with Rajeshwari Gayakwad if named in the XI. Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar will be India’s pacers with one of Shikha Pandey and Meghna Singh, both like to like.

CONCERNS FOR INDIA : Harmanpreet Kaur’s unavailability is a massive blow. The bowling from Indian’s has looked very ordinary; Jhulan Goswami’s the only one who’s really got going and India will bank on her for providing early upsets to Australia, spin department has been a major upset who’ve lacked control and haven’t produced anything. The batting has still not looked anywhere near best but there still have been good totals with few individuals having looked in good space. The team on field has looked sloppy and have dropped catches, here it being a multi day game it’ll be a tuff ask but will have to be switched on.

INDIA’S POSSIBLE PLAYING XI : Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia/Punam Raut, Mithali Raj (C), Taniya Bhatia (WK), Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh/Shikha Pandey and Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

Australia were retuning to field after nearly 5 months and the injury fears have turned into a reality as Australia face serious injury concerns. Australia do have a concern right at the top with Racheal Haynes missing the remainder of the series with hamstring injury and that’ll see Alyssa Healy with a new partner in Beth Mooney; Mooney had walked off field during the 3rd ODI with discomfort but Australia will sigh a breath of relief as Mooney was seen training and had a good hit in the nets and didn’t look in any sort of discomfort. Like India, Australia’s middle order holds experience and haven’t got going, they’ll now look to turn things around; Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner are all experienced but haven’t look anywhere near their best and will now want to make a strong impact, Ashleigh Gardner had a good outing in the 3rd one day and it being her home test she’ll look to put in something special while Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning had a good hit out in the nets.

Australia banking on all-rounders, the Aussie batting lineup is yet to fire and it’s been the lower middle order and the tail that’s put up shows; Tahila McGrath and Nicola Carey have been all-rounders who’ve performed well with the bat. Australia do have a slot in the middle to go with Georgia Redmayne as a pure batter but are likely to go with an all-rounder. Annabel Sutherland and Stella Campbell are likely to be handed their baggy greens. Sophie Molineux with a split lip will have to be on field bowling for Australia, she’ll have a spin twin in Georgia Wareham who’s now recovered. Australia’s pace bowling attack will lack experience, Perry hasn’t got her bowling rhythm and she was seen working from the scratch for hours, Annabel Sutherland and Stella Campbell did look to have enough but have do lack experience of a multi day game at the top level and the same goes with either of Nicola Carey and Darcie Brown.

CONCERNS FOR AUSTRALIA : Many senior Aussies pro’s are unavailable for the series and now they suffer another massive blow in Racheal Haynes who was ruled out a couple of days before the test match for the remainder of the series. The bowling hasn’t got going and has been Australia’s focus at training, the batting unit hasn’t fired but a few individuals have gone well. Fielding from Australians has been top-notch and that’s provided them an edge always.

AUSTRALIA’S POSSIBLE PLAYING XI : Alyssa Healy (VC), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning (C), Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner, Tahila McGrath, Nicola Carey/Darcie Brown, Annabel Sutherland, Stella Campbell, Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham.

MEG LANNING QUOTED : “There’s some weather around but we are focusing on what we can control. Sounds like there’s a decent storm coming but we’ll just play with what we’ve got and hopefully, we don’t lose too much time.”

MITHALI RAJ QUOTED : “It will be my first experience with the pink ball. I’m quite curious to see around that period and they say it will be a little difficult.”

Weather for the first two days isn’t promising as showers and storms are on forcast. Early looks of the pitch indicate there’s a lot for pacers, it’s looked lush green and for sure will have a shave.

The test match will commence tomorrow at 10:00 AM IST and will go on for four days till the 3rd of October. It’s a day-night pink-ball test, historic day tomorrow for India as they take field for their first ever day-night test match. A cracker of a match between Australia and India is now just a sleep away.

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