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India Women post 98/1 against Australia in 19 overs at Stumps on Day 1 in Mumbai

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In women’s cricket, India Women posted 98/1 in 19 overs at Stumps on Day 1 of their one-off Test match vs Australia Women at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai today. In response to Australia’s 219, Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana gave India a strong start, but the former departed for 40 off 49 balls.

Meanwhile, Mandhana (43*) remained unbeaten with Sneh Rana (4*) and the duo will resume batting on Day 2.

Alyssa Healy’s hopes of starting off a new legacy for Australia under her captaincy by batting long was thoroughly thwarted by Indian bowlers on an up and down surface at the Wankhede. Healy kept her end of the bargain by winning the toss and deciding to bat first, but her top-order faltered as India made regular inroads to deny Australia the chance to build and consolidate. In the final session, Australia were bundled out for 219. To compound their woes, India openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma began briskly as the hosts finished on 98/1 at stumps.

India had a charmed start to the morning as Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield were involved in a miscommunication in the first over that led to the run out of the latter. In the second over, Pooja Vastrakar cleaned up Ellyse Perry, like she did Natalie Sciver-Brunt just last week – with a length ball that jagged back sharply to breach the bat-pad gap and rattle the stumps.

Tahlia McGrath arrived with counterattacking instincts and the India quicks offered her ample width for it. She got a couple of reprieves as Deepti Sharma put down both chances at slip off the bowling of Renuka Thakur and Sneh Rana. McGrath went on to score a 52-ball 50 to plot a move on for Australia, but Rana put an end to that. The off-spinner, in the middle of an exceptionally dry spell, got McGrath to flick uppishly on a flighted full ball. It travelled only as far as mid-wicket where Rajeshwari Gayakwad timed her jump and pouched a sharp catch.

Mooney and Alyssa Healy looked to take the team to Lunch without any further damage but Vastrakar returned to deny them that. She went round the stumps and surprised Mooney with an angled in short ball – the last one of the morning session. Mooney fended awkwardly at it, and ended up hitting to Rana at first slip to depart for 40.

Australia’s resurrection was down to their skipper and Annabel Sutherland. They made slow progress in the second session before Deepti Sharma cleaned up Healy to leave Australia five down. Healy’s dismissal was also down to the ball keeping extremely low as it sneaked underneath her attempted sweep shot. In the next 10 overs, Australia’s downward spiral gathered pace as they went from 143 for 5 to 168 for 8, with Vastrakar returning to dent the visitors with the wickets of Sutherland and Ashleigh Gardner.

After picking four wickets each in the first two sessions, India were frustrated by Australia’s ninth-wicket stand between Kim Garth and Jess Jonassen even as shouts of ‘ek aur, bas ek aur’ [one more, just one more] were heard from the chirpy close-in fielders. The two played out nearly 15 overs before Deepti trapped Jonassen leg before. It took a review from India to get the decision in their favour. Debutant Lauren Cheatle then stayed put at one end while Garth added valuable runs to drag Australia past the 200-run mark. In her 23rd over of the day, Rana ended the innings when Cheatle decided to take matters into her own hands and gave the spinner the charge, only to mistime her big shot to Mandhana at mid-off.

India continued to hammer home the advantage as Mandhana and Shafali made a stroke-filled start. Mandhana got off the mark with a pristine square cut off Kim Garth in the second over while Shafali drove Cheatle for two successive fours. They took India to 50 in just the eighth over as boundaries came easily to both.Ellyse Perry struggled to get her footing right and bowled a couple of no-balls in her first over that went for 13 as India really flew off the blocks. Ashleigh Gardner arrived to put the brakes but Shafali punished Perry at the other end. With less than 10 minutes for close of play, Jonassen gave Australia a reason to break out a faint smile as she trapped Shafali leg before. Shafali walked off for 40 off 59 and India finished the day on 98/1, with Mandhana going strong at 43*.

Brief ScoresAustralia Women 219 (Tahlia McGrath 50, Beth Mooney 40, Alyssa Healy 38; Pooja Vastrakar 4-53, Sneh Rana 3-56, Deepti Sharma 2-45) lead India Women 98-1 (Smriti Mandhana 43*, Shafali Verma 40) by 121 runs

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