SMRITI SHINES, SCRIPTS OPENING DAY IN INDIA’S FAVOUR.

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Australia-Indian meet in whites for a day-night test at Metricon Stadium, both sides meet for the first time since 2006. This is India’s first appearance in a pink-ball test and Australia’s 2nd. Australia having won the toss opt to bowl first and handed 4 baggy greens, India also listed in a couple of debutants.

Skippers, Meg Lanning (left) and Mithali Raj.

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

INDIA’S PLAYING XI : Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Mithali Raj (C), Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Pooja Vastraka, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh and Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

India were out to bat on a fresh day 1 pitch; Smriti Mandhana looked composed despite a few half chances early on that safely ran through to the boundary, Shafali on the other end struggled as was trapped in two minds with her defence, she was looking to play all but failed to connect many, runs kept flowing for India from Smriti Mandhana’s blade. Ellyse Perry started well and had found her bowling rhythm, Darcie Brown had an expensive start but soon looked controlled and Stella Campbell was on money straightaway. India didn’t lose a wicket and with a boundary 50 was up for India in quick time, Smriti Mandhana 42*(39) scored the maximum with Shafali contributing 11*(29). Wasn’t too late before Smriti Mandhana had a small celebration as she raised her bat, a 51 ball 50 for Smriti, flying start. Smriti Mandhana was striking well at run a ball but had slowed down that created pressure on Shafali to accelerate who didn’t look comfortable and the pressure saw Sophie Molineux create an opportunity in the 17th over with Shafali on 26 but was dropped by Annabel Sutherland and a couple more escapes with a diving Meg at slips just getting her fingertips; Shafali failed to make maximum of a drop catch as the pressure kept building and Sophie striked Shafali with McGrath making no mistake to grab one; Australia finally had their first in the 25th over as Shafali walked back on 31(64) and that got Punam Raut to the crease. Smriti had completely slowed down and Punam Raut took her time to settle in and that saw Australia capitalise by creating pressure with tidy spin bowling from Sophie and Gardner. India walked back for dinner with 101 on board for loss of 1 wicket. 4 quicks and 2 spinners bowled for Australia in the opening session with Georgia Wareham and Annabel Sutherland yet to get in action. India bagged the opening session with a good total; Smriti and Punam unbeaten on 64 and 1 respectively. Australia saw a lone wicket that Sophie Molineux struck.

The lone wicket of the day was bagged by Sophie Molineux, she was out bowling with a split lip.

India started well in the 2nd session, 6 overs of play under lights, the pair put up a cautious start but soon play was halted due to bad weather with lighting in the area, rain started to pour and was a long delay until live action returned; nearly a two hour delay. Play resumed, 4 overs being bowled, intentful from India before rain caused yet another halt and was a pause for nearly 30 odd minutes and that was tea, end of second session on the opening day with India on 132/1; Smriti Mandhana batting on 80*(144) and Punam Raut batting on 16*(57).

Smriti Mandhana shines for India, remains unbeaten on 80.

There was no play post tea, the weather got worse and play on day 1 was called off, a disappointment day of cricket at Metricon Stadium.

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