Smriti Mandhana converted her overnight unbeaten 80* to a well-deserved century, registering a number of impressive stats along the way as India ended a hail storm marred day 2 on 276/5.
Here are the talking points from the day’s play:
FOLLOW DAY 3 LIVE:
AUS-W vs IND-W Pink Ball Test Day 3 Live Score IND: 276/5: Taniya Bhatia, Deepti Sharma set to resume innings, will India declare?
1. Weather comes in the way. Again: The two-day storm forecast for the Gold Coast lived up to predictions, with weather on day 2 going a few steps further than what the Metricon got on day 1. A lightning alert turned to a strong shower which then became a proper hail storm, turning the outfield to one giant puddle. Big props to the facilities at the stadium in Carrara. Spectators at the venue and broadcasters shared images of the impressive drainage capacity of the venue but it was not enough to salvage play post dinner. For women’s Tests, 100 overs are the minimum requirement for a day but this match has seen the teams struggle to that mark and taking two days to get there.
2. The four-day Test debate: The lost time due to bad weather left many wondering if women’s Tests should get a fifth day. Women have traditionally played four-day matches and the calls to match the male variant of the longest format have been growing over the past few years. England captain Heather Knight had advocated for five-day matches at the end of the 2019 Ashes series and more recently after a gripping one-off Test against India in Bristol this year. As Test cricket in general moves towards playing increasingly for a result, the benefits of a fifth day are lost on no one.
3. Mandhana’s century: one for the records: An initial hiccup saw Mandhana send a full toss from Ellyse Perry to Beth Mooney in gully. The Indian opener was lucky as Perry had overstepped. While there were doubts about Mooney grounding the catch, it was not necessary to look any further after the no-ball call. Mandhana was cautious from that point, getting to her century in style after pulling Perry again for a boundary. Her century ticked off a number of firsts in addition to being her very first triple digit score in Tests. Mandhana will take a lot of positives from this innings as it makes up for a lot of inadequacies from the past. She had converted a good start, anchored the Indian innings to a comfortable score, despite the weather delays and left the opposition at their wits’ end to try and dismiss her. Good few days in the office for the southpaw.
4. To walk or not to walk: Punam Raut triggered a massive debate among fans when she was dismissed in the 81st over by Sophie Molineux. The spinner sent in a delivery angling outside the off stump and in defending, Raut thought she had knicked the ball to Alyssa Healy behind the stumps. The umpire said not out but Punam waited for no one and walked off. Given that women’s matches and this one in particular do not have DRS, Punam had the option of sticking on in the crease. Replays also seemed to suggest benefit of doubt might have gone Punam’s way. She was welcomed by applause in the pavilion for playing in the ‘spirit of the game’, but many could not understand why she did not stand her ground and save her wicket. While bringing in the moral rights and wrongs of this call may be a delving into a grey area, there’s no doubt that she thought she was out and walked without a fuss. Punam is yet to address this herself.
5. Pacers struggle yet again, Sutherland impresses: While Ashleigh Gardner had to begin proceedings on day 2 due to an unfinished over from the day before, Meg Lanning relied on her pace battery once more to try and get the ball rolling on the second day of the Test. This once again did not work, with Raut and Mandhana looking comfortable in the middle. It took the spinners to place the Indians innings in a chokehold with Gardner even coming in to remove Mandhana. Georgia Wareham got some time with the ball and despite going wicketless, was impressive with the amount of turn she was getting.
Ellyse Perry found some success, getting Yastika Bhatia’s wicket after all the hardwork she had done to rein in her line and length. One hopes this boosts her confidence and helps her stay consistent with the ball. Among the pacers, Annabel Sutherland, making her debut in the game, has shown some promise. Her economy rate of 2.27 is the best for a pacer and the second best overall for Australia in this innings. She also impressed with the runout of Mithali Raj. Australia needs quick wickets and a relatively unsettled pair at the crease is what it needs to wrap this Indian innings up. How much they allow India to breathe will directly impact the score India declares at, if that happens.