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Women’s Test Cricket: India historic win against Australia by 8 wickets with the help of spinners

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India spun their way to a historic first-ever Test win over Australia at the Wankhede Day 4. Australia began on 233 for 5 but lost the second half of their side for the addition of just 28 more runs. Australia dismissed Shafali Verma in the opening over and then got Richa Ghosh in the post-Lunch session but they had too few runs on the board to ruffle any more feathers. India completed the chase – of 75 runs – early in that session.

India perhaps began to gnaw into Australia’s resolve late on Day 3 when Harmanpreet Kaur’s off-break bowling yielded two wickets, including that off a stubborn Tahlia McGrath who batted out 177 deliveries on a tough surface. Australia needed Ashleigh Gardner and Annabel Sutherland to carry their side past the early pressures of the morning session on Day 4 when India came hard looking for quick inroads.

In just the second over of the day, Pooja Vastrakar bowled a fine yorker to Gardner and struck her on the front boot. Umpire Anil Chaudhary turned down the appeal for an LBW but Harmanpreet got it overturned with a review. A trigger happy India burned a review in the same over, using it for an LBW appeal on a delivery that pitched way outside the leg stump.

While Deepti Sharma troubled the England batters a couple of weeks ago, Sneh Rana turned out to be Australia’s kryptonite – following her first-innings three-wicket haul with four in the second. In a game where sweep and reverse-sweep didn’t yield the results Australia hoped for, Sutherland became yet another causalty to it.

Her attempt to sweep Rana ended with her gloving a catch to an alert Yastika Bhatia behind the stumps. Once again the umpire didn’t rule in India’s favour and Harmanpreet sent the call to the TV umpire just in the nick of time. It sent Sutherland packing and left Australia vulnerable to a quick collapse.

That began on the very next ball as new batter Alana King played a forward defence with soft hands and ended up playing the Rana delivery onto her stumps. Australia went from 251 for 8 to 261 all-out courtesy two stunning deliveries from Rajeshwari Gayakwad to Kim Garth and Jess Jonassen. First to Garth, Gayakwad bowled the dream left-arm spinner’s ball from round the stumps – full, flighted and turning enough to square up the right-hander before crashing into the top of off-stump. Then to the left-handed Jonassen, she went over the wicket and got one to turn in sharply from outside the offstump and go through the bat-pad gap to hit the stumps. With that, India were just 75 runs away from an epoch-making result.

Garth nicked off Shafali Verma in the first over with a full ball that shaped away but Smriti Mandhana and Richa Ghosh came together to deny any more early breakthroughs. Ghosh even earned a reprieve early on when Beth Mooney dropped a straightforward chance at first slip off Gardner. In the second session though, the debutant enjoyed no such luck as her attempt to get out of the rut that the Aussie spinner had put her into ended with her dismissal as a big shot went to McGrath at mid-on. Jemimah Rodrigues came out swinging to hasten India’s gallop towards a historic win before Mandhana sealed it with a big shot down the ground for a four.

Brief scores:India 406 & 75/2 (Smriti Mandhana 38*) beat Australia 219 & 261 (Tahlia McGrath 73, Ellyse Perry 45; Sneh Rana 4-63, Harmanpreet Kaur 2-23, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2-42) by 8 wickets

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