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India took the lead in the one-off Test match between Australia and India thanks to Pooja Vastrakar and Sneh Rana

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<p>On the opening day of the one-off Test match between Australia and India at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday, Pooja Vastrakar maintained her excellent form with the ball before Shefali Verma and Smriti Mandhana struck a 90-run partnership for the first wicket. This gave India the upper hand.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-317608″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-india-took-the-lead-in-the-one-off-test-match-between-australia-and-india-thanks-t-750×500.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com india took the lead in the one off test match between australia and india thanks t” width=”985″ height=”657″ title=”India took the lead in the one-off Test match between Australia and India thanks to Pooja Vastrakar and Sneh Rana 9″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-india-took-the-lead-in-the-one-off-test-match-between-australia-and-india-thanks-t-750×500.jpg 750w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-india-took-the-lead-in-the-one-off-test-match-between-australia-and-india-thanks-t-768×512.jpg 768w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-india-took-the-lead-in-the-one-off-test-match-between-australia-and-india-thanks-t-150×100.jpg 150w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-india-took-the-lead-in-the-one-off-test-match-between-australia-and-india-thanks-t.jpg 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 985px) 100vw, 985px” /></p>
<p>Australia chose to bat first and lost to India after being bowled out for 219 runs, their lowest-ever Test total. Pooja rose to the occasion once again, taking three wickets against England the previous week, and returning with her best bowling statistics (4/53) in the format. Thanks to their openers, India maintained their batting momentum and finished the day at 98/1, 121 runs behind the lead.</p>
<p>India had benefited greatly from winning the toss against England, and they made only one change in their lineup, bringing in Richa Ghosh to replace the injured Shubha Satheesh. Before the pitch started to collapse and the bowlers took advantage over the following two days, they amassed a massive score on Day 1. Australia had the advantage this time as they won the toss and got to bat first. Though there was a lot more grass on the pitch, the ball stayed low many times throughout the first session, giving the impression that the visitors would be in a good position if they could put up a respectable first-inning total.</p>
<p>Nonetheless, India made sure they were in control of the game going into stumps thanks to a focused bowling effort. Australia was reduced to 7/2 in the second over as Phoebe Litchfield was run out for a duck without having seen a ball, putting them in a precarious situation.</p>
<p>The most seasoned player in Australia, Ellyse Perry, came next, and she only lasted two deliveries. Pooja had taken out one of the best hitters in the game, Natalie Sciver-Brunt, in the second innings of the match against England with a brilliant ball that nipped in sharply. The right-arm bowler rattled the stumps and broke through Perry’s defense on Thursday with another impressive display.</p>
<p>Then, vice-captain Tahlia McGrath executed an outstanding counterattack, which led to Australia’s largest partnership. The right-hander exploited the mistake of India’s bowlers throwing a wide line on a regular basis, racing to 33 off 20 balls. McGrath went on to reach her third half-century in Test matches, but Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s fine catch over her head at mid-wicket saw her removed by Sneh Rana in the next over.</p>
<p>Alyssa Healy, the captain, came in at number five, and opener Beth Mooney both had time at the bat but were unable to convert their beginnings. At No. 10, Kim Garth’s undefeated 28 helped Australia to a relatively competitive total.</p>
<p>The most notable part of the innings was Pooja’s period, although Sneh bowled the most overs (22.4) for India and did well to return with a three-for. Fellow off-spinner Deepti Sharma also contributed with two wickets. With maybe the ball of the day, the 24-year-old dismissed Perry, demonstrating her flexibility as a bowler, and then dismissed Mooney with a bouncer. Despite his best efforts, the left-hander was only able to steer the ball to first slip. Ash Gardner edged one to the “keeper” and Annabel Sutherland was stranded in front, thus none of the four wickets that Pooja got were from tailenders.</p>
<p>Pooja said, “We had felt during our practice sessions that this pitch won’t be as easy as the one at DY Patil Stadium.” We were aware that we would need to put in a lot of effort and smash the ball as much as we could into the deck. Troy Cooley, our bowling coach, instructed us to bowl wicket-to-wicket and attempt to bring a few balls in to set up batsmen. I am an out-swing bowler, of course, but from watching the films, we thought that the Australian and English batsmen were having trouble with deliveries that were coming in. Therefore, we received training to master the wobbling seam.</p>
<p>“Vastrakar bowled incredibly well; the ball she got Pez (Perry) with was an absolute peach,” Tahlia said. She bowls a length that is great for Test cricket and keeps you on your toes, with sideways movement off the seam both ways. She was diligent in her use of her abilities and is a very skilled cricket player.</p>
<p>Shafali (40) and Smriti (43*) fielded for 77.4 overs in hot circumstances, but they didn’t waver in footwork or focus. They also contributed a strong opening pair to increase India’s lead in the match. As Australian pacers Lauren Cheatle, Garth, and Perry found it difficult to bowl consistently straight lines and lengths, the right-left combination hit a number of boundaries against the new ball.</p>
<p>With her fourth delivery, left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen caught Shafali in front, giving Australia the breakthrough they had been waiting for since the 17th over. Although Richa and Jemimah were padded up, India sent Sneh to bat at No. 3, where he and Smriti saw out the last two overs of the day.</p>


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