CAPTAINS’ COURAGE NEEDED TO STOP DRAW
IT’S the period commonly known as moving day in Test cricket but Saturday could just as easily have been renamed courage day in the women’s pink-ball clash on the Gold Coast.
With almost 100 overs lost to weather in the opening two days at Metricon Stadium, a bold move was needed from one of the captains to help force a result between Australia and India.
The advent of the multi-format series has been a definite plus for women’s cricket and the inclusion of a Test match along with T20 and one-day internationals has put more women’s Tests on the international calendar.
But the points format of the series is hardly conducive to pushing for a win.
After Australia’s 2-1 win in the one-day series, they lead the overall contest four points to two, with another four points on offer for the Test.
An Indian victory would not only put them ahead in the series but could put women’s Test cricket on the map in India.
But pushing for victory is a risky move given an outright loss would all but hand Australia the overall series.
The Indians started day three at 5-276 and largely dawdled their way to 7-359 at the end of a twoand-a-half hour session, all but ensuring they would pick up at least two points for a drawn match. A result could be out of the question.
The opportunity was there for Meg Lanning to force the issue.
But courage was needed. Something different, take a chance.
Instead, the Aussies opened with Ellyse Perry and Ash Gardner.
Hardly a poor choice - but also nothing different, nothing that had so far challenged the Indians.
For all of Lanning’s experience – this is her 203rd international – she is playing just her fifth Test.
It’s a different challenge for her as well.
When she did take a chance, the results came.
Debutant Stella Campbell – who had been given just two threeover spells in the opening two days – finally got the breakthrough, snaring Taniya Bhatia for 22 and then taking the dangerous Deepti Sharma lbw for 66 when she was brought on again just after the dinner break.
Leg spinner Georgia Wareham had had just one spell in the opening two days but her three overs before dinner on Saturday – while expensive – troubled the visitors.
Australia has a long road to travel if it is to salvage a result from this match.
And if it is to happen, it will take risk.
But that could pay off in a big way – not just for the Aussies in this match but for the future of women’s Test cricket.