Australians happy to do a rain dance
A TORRENTIAL downpour was needed to stop India after an impressive start from the tourists in their one-off women’s pink-ball, day-night Test against Australia at Metricon Stadium on Thursday.
Asked to bat first after Australia’s captain Meg Lanning won the toss, India defied a green-tinged pitch to take early control in the first Test match between the teams in 15 years.
However, the threatening skies that held off for the entire first session finally unleashed in the second session, with India on 1-132 in the 45th over when a second rain delay forced players off the field at 7.34pm, just a quarter of an hour after they returned following an initial stoppage of 108 minutes.
The early star of the contest was India opener Smriti Mandhana, who was unbeaten on 80 from 144 balls when play was halted for the second time.
Mandhana made a blistering start to her innings, bringing up her half century in just 51 balls before the Australians slowed India’s progress with some tighter bowling after a disappointing opening hour with the ball.
The Australians didn’t help their cause by failing to grasp three chances offered by Mandhana’s opening partner Shafali Verma.
Two were sharp opportunities that Lanning at first slip couldn’t grasp, but the third was a sitter put down by Annabel Sutherland at midon.
Verma was eventually dismissed for 31 in the 26th over, caught at deep mid-off by Tahlia McGrath off the bowling of left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux, who took 1-18 off nine overs before the rain came.
Four Australian players – all-rounder Sutherland, fellow teenagers Darcie Brown and Stella Campbell, and legspinner Georgia Wareham – donned the baggy green cap for the first time.
Brown, 18, was given the new ball with star all-rounder Ellyse Perry but failed to fire, being hit for 28 runs in her four-over spell.
Sutherland, who starred with the ball in last Sunday’s one-dayer between the teams, was surprisingly relegated to being Australia’s seventhchoice bowler and delivered just one over.
She also dropped a sitter at mid-on in one of three lives the Australians offered to India opener Verma.
Leading a depleted attack missing key pair Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen, star all-rounder Perry was economical if not threatening in a seven-over opening spell that cost 24 runs.