Aussie women’s Test team in all sorts after a diabolical first day against India


India are in total command of the one-off Test at Wankhede Stadium, racing to 1-98 at stumps on day after bowling Australia out for a modest 219.

Smriti Mandhana (43no) looks in imperious touch, as did opening partner Shafali Verma (40) before she was trapped lbw off left-arm orthodox spinner’s Jess Jonassen’s fourth ball, shortly before the close of play in Mumbai on Thursday.

Australia’s seamers continually missed their lengths and were duly treated with disdain by the Indian duo, who rocketed at almost a run-a-ball in their boundary-laced 90-run stand to slash the deficit to 121 runs.

It was already a historic match between Australia and India… then the Aussies copped the first diamond duck run-out in women’s Test history ????

— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) December 21, 2023

The introduction of Ash Gardner’s finger spin in the 10th over – with India rattling along at 0-64 – finally curbed the home side’s barnstorming progress.

Australia’s seamers – debutant Lauren Cheatle, wayward Kim Garth and an out-of-sorts Ellyse Perry – conceded 77 from their 12 overs.

Conversely, spinners Gardner and Jonassen’s seven overs cost only 12 runs.

Earlier, new vice-captain Tahlia McGrath’s breezy 50 off 56 balls, captain Alyssa Healy’s gritty 38 and Garth’s handy unbeaten 28 led an otherwise disappointing Australian display with the bat in challenging conditions.

Seamer Pooja Vastrakar (career-best 4-53) ripped the tourists’ top and middle apart, ably supported by offspin duo Sneh Rana (3-56) and Deepti Sharma (2-45).

Australia found early peril when they nosedived to 2-7 inside the first 10 deliveries.

Young opener Phoebe Litchfield was run out in the first over without facing a ball, before Perry was bowled through the gate by Vastrakar for four.

Vastrakar, who troubled Australia with her each-way seam movement, removed Beth Mooney (40) on the last ball before lunch, before getting rid of Annabel Sutherland (16) and Ash Gardner (11) in the middle session.

Healy, announced as Meg Lanning’s permanent captaincy successor earlier this month, batted bravely in her first knock in two months after injuring her right index finger when it was accidentally bitten by one of her pet puppies. 

Healy’s departure – bowled attempting to sweep Sharma – triggered Australia’s collapse, which was salvaged late by Garth.

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