Well, we went back and forth over the past four days, trying to figure out what the chances of a result were, who had the ascendancy, whether it was ever going to stop raining. If we hadn’t lost basically a whole day to rain across those first two days, it could have been a much more exciting finish. But we did get three declarations in a match, so we can’t ask for much more than that really. I’m a little surprised at Australia’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss. I think even with the rain, we could have seen a result out of this if Australia batted first.
So each team will pick up two points from this match, which puts the series at 6-4 in Australia’s favour, with two points on offer for each of the three T20s. So India needs to win all three T20s to take the series win, while Australia only needs to win two. If India wins two and Australia wins one, the series will be drawn - this is the first time this trophy will be awarded so there is no potential for retention. I’m not sure what will happen in the case of a drawn series then, do we cut the trophy in half? That’s something to look forward to anyway.
Thank you so much for joining us over the past four days, I hope you’ve enjoyed this Test as much I have! We’ll be back on Thursday for the first of the T20s, so enjoy a few days rest and we’ll see you then.
The umpires ask the question and Lanning and Raj have a bit of a chat about it and eventually they decide they’d like to go and have a sleep, which is a very sensible decision.
15th over: Australia 36-2 (Lanning 17, Perry 1) Perry charges down the wicket at the first ball of the over and then just gently nudges it back to Gayakwad. There’s an LBW appeal next ball, but Perry got bat on it. She’s playing around with her shots quite a bit and flourishing her bat, but she’s not letting loose with her shots.
Drinks are on the field now.
14th over: Australia 36-2 (Lanning 17, Perry 1) This match is drifting ever closer to an inevitable draw. It always looked like the most common result, but I think many of us dared to dream that we might have a winner. Vastrakar is getting a bit of movement, but it’s not enough to shift the momentum of the match.
13th over: Australia 36-2 (Lanning 17, Perry 1) Goswami gets a break and Gayakwad comes on to bowl, India’s first spin option for the innings. There’s an LBW appeal on the first ball to Perry, but it looks to be a bit outside the line. The rest of the over passes without much drama, some singles and defensive shots to round it out.
12th over: Australia 34-2 (Lanning 16, Perry 0) Vastrakar takes her fourth over for the innings and Lanning continues to play her defensively for a few balls, until she sees her chance and plays a nice, controlled pull shot for four. It appears to be a bit of Test batting practice for the Australians at the moment. They’ll take their chances when they get them and keep their form going, but they’re not going to take any risks while they do it.
11th over: Australia 30-2 (Lanning 12, Perry 0) A lovely ball from Goswami to start that picks up a little inside edge from Lanning, but it doesn’t carry through to the keeper. Her radar is off a little on the second ball, but she draws her line and length back to her usual areas after that.
10th over: Australia 29-2 (Lanning 12, Perry 0) Vastrakar continues - I was just about to say that she’s bowling well, but doesn’t have the impact of Goswami at the other end. Which is perhaps an unfair thing to expect, but it would be incredible to see that kind of pressure being exerted from both ends. And then she strikes with a short ball that lures Mooney into an uncontrolled pull shot and Perry comes to the crease.
WICKET! Mooney c Gayakwad b Vastrakar (11), Australia 28-2
Vastrakar tempts Mooney into having a swing at a short ball and Gayakwad happily snaffles the catch. This is the momentum India are looking for.
9th over: Australia 26-1 (Lanning 10, Mooney 10) A very good ball from Goswami to start the over, she’s really asking questions of Lanning here. There’s going to be no easing to the finish from her point of view. Lanning finds a ball she’s interested in in the middle of the over and demonstrates the trademark Meg Lanning cover drive. On another if you’ve missed the television coverage of this match, something you’re really missing out on is Kirby Short’s excellent commentary. The former Queensland and Heat captain is carving it up and really adding some excellence to the broadcast.
8th over: Australia 22-1 (Lanning 6, Mooney 10) Another over for Vastrakar and she mixes up her length with a fullish ball to start and then a shorter one. Mooney gets a single on the third and the next ball nearly beats Lanning, but she gets her bat in the way quickly.
7th over: Australia 20-1 (Lanning 5, Mooney 9) Goswami’s line and length are just so consistent, she’s quite incredible to watch. It’s disappointing we won’t get to see her in the T20s. Generally the battle between her and Lanning is brilliant, but Lanning isn’t playing to win here, which dulls the effect a little. But it’s still special to see two of the greats of the game up against each other. There’s a desperate appeal for LBW late in the over, but it’s not given. Lanning gives another steely eyed look as she leaves the last ball.
6th over: Australia 20-1 (Lanning 5, Mooney 9) We get our first look at Vastrakar for this innings, possibly with the idea of a little rest for Meghna Singh and bringing her back freshened up a bit in a couple of overs. Mooney is looking more confident against Vastrakar and plays a very nice cover drive for four.
5th over: Australia 16-1 (Lanning 5, Mooney 5) Goswami continues - there’s chance she could bowl out this whole session if she can keep it up. She’s not playing the T20s so she can run herself into the ground if she desires. Lanning’s got very steely eyes and she’s very determined not to let Goswami swing this match further in India’s favour.
4th over: Australia 14-1 (Lanning 3, Mooney 5) Singh starts with a bouncer and Mooney isn’t interested in taking any chances with it and ducks under comfortably. The next ball cramps her up a little, but she manages to guide it away for a single and give Lanning a look at Singh. Lanning sees a ball she likes and opens the face of the bat and guides it neatly into the covers. It doesn’t make the rope, but these two speedy batters run three and then Mooney picks up two from the next ball.
3rd over: Australia 8-1 (Lanning 0, Mooney 2) Goswami starts aggressively to Mooney, she’s really keen to take these wickets. And once she gets Healy on strike, she does just that! Lanning comes out to the middle now, it hasn’t been the most memorable series for the captain so far, so she’ll be looking to have an impact here. She’s not taking any chances early against the dangerous Goswami, leaving the first two deliveries she faces and then blocking the final ball.
WICKET! Healy b Goswami (6), Australia 8-1
Goswami really has Healy’s number this series, she sends a quick delivery down and Healy plays it on to her stumps.
2nd over: Australia 7-0 (Healy 6, Mooney 1) Singh bowls from the other end and Healy clearly feels more comfortable with her and starts with an aggressive pull shot for four. She grabs another quick single and gives Mooney a shot at Singh. Again Mooney is in no hurry and starts out very defensively before eventually taking a single and rotating the strike. The last ball of the over looks dangerous for Healy, but she doesn’t quite get an edge to it.
1st over: Australia 1-0 (Healy 1, Mooney 0) Goswami takes the first over and Healy dashes down the wicket and off strike as quickly as she possibly can. Mooney is more content to settle in and take a look before she goes for a run. Goswami is such a consistent bowler and is looking just as dangerous as she has all series. She gets one a couple of millimetres past Mooney’s bat and follows it up with another straight away.
India declare 135-3, leading Australia by 271
Well, we got Mel Jones’s magical third declaration, so here we are with a finish on our hands! Will Australia go for it with almost 8.5 an over to get? We shall soon see!
37th over: India 135-3 (Sharma 3, Raut 41) Raut takes a few balls before she targets the long boundary with an aggressive drive. McGrath tries to cut it off, but she only succeeds in sending it over the rope a little further down.
36th over: India 130-3 (Sharma 3, Raut 36) Wareham takes another over, looking to continue her good work and snaffle another wicket. She’s getting some nice flight on the ball and it takes Raut a few balls to be able to guide one past the close in fielders. It’s a tight over from Wareham.
35th over: India 128-3 (Sharma 2, Raut 35) Gardner is on for her ninth over of the innings. There’s been a bit of a slow down since Wareham got that breakthrough, we’re back to that game of cat and mouse. But once Raut gets back on strike, she sizes Gardner up and slog sweeps her for four very confidently.
34th over: India 123-3 (Sharma 1, Raut 31) Wareham takes her second over of the innings and strikes almost immediately, with an LBW on the second ball. Wareham gets her first Test wicket and the customary hair mess up. Deepti Sharma comes to the crease now and takes a couple of balls to settle in before guiding the ball away for a single to finish the over.
WICKET! Verma lbw Wareham 52, India 122-3
In her second over, Wareham strikes with a beautiful legspin delivery with a little bit of drift, that gets past Verma and the umpire is happy with that appeal.
33rd over: India 121-2 (Verma 52, Raut 30) Verma gets a little bit excited and gets her feet moving, but she’s misjudged it a little and just plays it gently to the field. She gets her chance for a more aggressive shot next ball, but it can’t find the boundary rope. There’s a little look at a run out on the last ball, but Verma is safe.
32nd over: India 119-2 (Verma 51, Raut 29) Finally we get another look at Wareham, she’s had very few overs in this Test so far. Unusual when she’s the only legspinner in the team and could have had a bigger impact on this match. Raut plays a lovely cover drive for four from a half volley, Wareham will have to tighten that length up a bit. She does not do that and offers Raut a full toss that she gratefully accepts and sends over deep mid-wicket for four.
31st over: India 111-2 (Verma 51, Raut 21) There’s a bit of a buzz in the air, everyone loves a Test where there are still three different results possible at the start of the last session. This is what we love about Test cricket. Gardner resumes and Raut only takes one ball before she gets moving, getting her feet to the ball and sending the ball over the boundary. 40 overs left in the day now.
Well in the pre-match on Fox Cricket today, Mel Jones posited a scenario with three declarations, including Australia declaring behind. It’s played out pretty well so far and while India don’t appear ready to declare yet, they are putting in a bit of fielding practice during the tea break, so a third declaration could be still be on the cards.
Tea break: India 106-2
India are ahead by 242 now, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here. There’s still a chance of a result, but I think the Australian commentators are willing it more than anything. India are under no obligation to create something fun for us to watch by giving Australia a chance to win. This game is still a bit cat and mouse, India are playing some big shots, but not taking a lot of chances and Australia are doing a lot of containment, rather than aggressive wicket-taking.
30th over: India 106-2 (Verma 51, Raut 16) Not too far from the tea break now and Molineux takes another over. Some good fielding off her own bowling early in the over and then Verma plays an aggressive cut shot, but doesn’t time it perfectly and it’s easily picked up before the rope. An uncharacteristic misfield from Perry in the middle of the over gives up an easy single. Lanning brings the field right in for the final ball of the over and Verma is quite happy with that, hitting one straight back over Molineux’s head for four.
29th over: India 100-2 (Verma 46, Raut 15) Gardner again and Lanning has plenty of thoughts to share with her during the over. Again they look to crowd Raut and get in close to the bat as soon as she comes on strike. Raut doesn’t mind too much, instead sending it over the top.
28th over: India 97-2 (Verma 44, Raut 14) Molineux continues economically and Raut is alternating between aggressive shots that aren’t quite getting past the field and very definite defensive shots.
27th over: India 95-2 (Verma 44, Raut 12) Gardner again and she gets a beautiful ball in early that goes straight through Verma, but it goes over the stumps. Verma cuts through the field after that and gets herself off strike. Lots of fielding changes going on here, it’s slowing the over rate much more than we’ve seen so far in this match.
26th over: India 93-2 (Verma 43, Raut 11) Another over from Molineux, so Lanning has settled down with her bowling changes for now. Raut takes a few balls to settle in, then sweeps one around the corner for four and sends another shot into the same region for a single the ball after.
25th over: India 87-2 (Verma 42, Raut 6) Verma starts with an uppish shot towards Gardner, but it’s wide of her and sneaks past for a single. Lanning makes some fielding changes and the Australians are really crowding Raut at the moment. She’s coping with it for now and guides one past the close fielders for a single off the last.
24th over: India 85-2 (Verma 41, Raut 5) Molineux resumes and there’s a little bit more acceleration coming into this game now. Raut plays a nice cut shot to third that nearly goes for a four, then follows it up with a quick single that turns into two with a misfield.
23rd over: India 81-2 (Verma 41, Raut 1) A little bit more excitement to start this over, Verma sends one out to short third for two. A few balls later she guides one to fine leg for another two and there’s a run out attempt, but she’s well in. It’s a fairly big over in the context of the last few against Australia’s spinners, with six off it.
22nd over: India 75-2 (Verma 36, Raut 0) Molineux continues and the Australians go up for another big appeal, but they’re not getting any joy on those at the moment. Aside from that it’s a fairly uneventful over.
21st over: India 74-2 (Verma 35, Raut 0) Gardner continues and Brad Hodge is very angry on the broadcast about the field placings and bowling rotations. Gardner shuts him up very quickly by taking a wicket, which is nice - thanks Ash. Raut blocks the first ball, then shows some intent with a nice drive, but it’s straight to the field. A big appeal on the last, but the umpire shakes her head.
WICKET! Bhatia b Gardner (3), India 74-2
Beautiful ball from Gardner goes straight through Bhatia and knocks the stumps over - Gardner is the woman of the moment in this innings.
20th over: India 74-1 (Verma 35, Bhatia 3) Molineux takes her second over and why not after dismissing Mandhana from her first? Bhatia goes after one from the second ball of the over, with an aggressive pull shot that goes up in the air, but there’s no fielder under it and it’s just a single. Verma picks up a single as well, Australia seem content with stifling at the moment, just giving up singles, but not asking the batters to play big shots.
19th over: India 71-1 (Verma 34, Bhatia 1) Now we’ve got Gardner on to bowl, hopefully she’ll be up and about after that catch. A bit of a clash in the field between Mooney and Molineux, which they think is quite funny. Bhatia isn’t too keen to accelerate the run rate just yet, only a cautious single from the over.
18th over: India 70-1 (Verma 34, Bhatia 0) Another bowling change here, with Molineux into the attack. She starts economically, a couple of dot balls before Verma gets her away for a single with a straight drive. Mandhana tries to take her on, but is cut off by a brilliant catch in the deep from Gardner. India shows their hand a little, sending Yastika Bhatia out next, so it appears a run scoring burst and a declaration is on their minds.
WICKET! Mandhana c Gardner b Molineux 31, India 70-1
Finally one falls Gardner’s way, albeit not quite in her way, she really has to get a move on to get there. It’s a sensational diving catch and Australia will be buoyed by that.
17th over: India 69-0 (Verma 33, Mandhana 31) Sutherland returns for her second over of the day. Again she starts with two very good length balls, really testing Verma. Verma picks up a single after that, not taking too many risks, but playing her shots at the moment. Mandhana isn’t interested in that route and goes over the top for a two bounce four off her back foot as soon as she gets on strike.
16th over: India 63-0 (Verma 32, Mandhana 26) A slower ball from Campbell to start, only 103km/hr and Verma latches on to it and steers it over the boundary for four. A few quick singles now, they’re not letting Campbell settle into a rhythm and are rotating the strike well. Campbell creates another chance on the last ball of the over, but it falls short of Gardner.
15th over: India 55-0 (Verma 26, Mandhana 24) And now we’ve got Annabel Sutherland on to bowl. She starts well, just beating the bat of Mandhana twice in a row. Mandhana gets bat on it third ball, but defends it back, then plays a shot to the field. They seem to be taking a look at each bowler before committing to too much, which is possibly why Lanning keeps changing her bowlers. Mandhana gets a thick edge to one late in the over and picks up a boundary past deep third.
Drinks are on the field now.
14th over: India 51-0 (Verma 26, Mandhana 20) Verma likes Mandhana’s style and gets her own boundary off the first ball of this over. There’s a big appeal from the Australians next over, but it’s not given. Campbell throws two bouncers in, but Verma doesn’t seem too bothered by them. She keeps dishing them out and eventually Verma has had quite enough ducking and swats one to the boundary for four.
13th over: India 44-0 (Verma 18, Mandhana 20) A nice, aggressive hook shot from Verma early in the over, but it’s straight to the fielder on the boundary. Nice to see her with that intent though. They’re really playing their shots, but not quite penetrating the field at the moment. So on the last ball of the over, Mandhana stops trying to do that and just goes over the top instead for four.
12th over: India 37-0 (Verma 18, Mandhana 15) Campbell picks up where she left off, she’s mixing up her deliveries well. The Indian openers are treating her with caution for now, trying to get her measure before looking for scoring opportunities. A wayward ball on the second last of the over sails past Healy for four byes, which is unfortunate, but Campbell resets for the last.
11th over: India 33-0 (Verma 18, Mandhana 15) McGrath comes on to bowl now, Lanning is making bowling changes at a rate of knots here. It’s a tight over from McGrath, but she doesn’t look as threatening as Campbell did, possibly she’s taking on more of a containment role at this end to send Campbell up for a wicket down the other.
10th over: India 32-0 (Verma 17, Mandhana 15) Campbell is on now, Mandhana and Verma haven’t had much of a look at her yet, so it’s definitely worth getting her in early. Campbell bowls her first few to Verma, before she gets herself off strike and gives Mandhana a look at the teenager. Campbell is getting some very nice shape, excellent line and length early. She’ll be hard to score runs off, but more importantly for Australia, she looks dangerous in the wicket-taking stakes. She nearly picks one up off the last ball of the over when Mandhana skies it, but Gardner can’t take the catch.
9th over: India 29-0 (Verma 16, Mandhana 13) Hello everyone! Well what a day of Test cricket it’s been! Perry has mostly been in control this over, but Mandhana got a good one away for four, so they’re taking their chances when they come.
8th over: India 25-0 (Verma 16, Mandhana 9) A far more controlled boundary for Verma, as she clips Darcie Brown through midwicket. All wrists and timing. Then another couple through point. So maybe India will put the foot down?
That’s the end of my time here today. Megan Maurice will be your company from here through to the close of play.
7th over: India 19-0 (Verma 10, Mandhana 9) Working the singles now from Perry, getting the Indian lead up to 159.
6th over: India 16-0 (Verma 8, Mandhana 8) Brown is bowling across Mandhana, and the left-hander is happy to keep letting those balls go. But when she gets a short ball on leg stump she throws the hands at it, top-edging over the keeper and bouncing just inside the rope.
5th over: India 12-0 (Verma 8, Mandhana 4) Shafali Verma is away. Gets a ball back of a length and instinctively plays at it, reaching for it in T20 style and running it away. There is a slip cordon, but the ball dips before it reaches those players and skids through a gap to get away for four.
4th over: India 6-0 (Verma 2, Mandhana 4) First boundary of the innings for Mandhana, who gets a freebie down the leg side for a glance. She plays a much more authoritative shot to end the over, lacing a cover drive beautifully but it gets stopped. In between times, Brown bowls a lovely delivery that leaves the left-hander and beats her edge.
3rd over: India 2-0 (Verma 1, Mandhana 0) More movement for Perry, no run as Verma faces out the over. Mandhana has only faced two balls in the first three overs.
2nd over: India 2-0 (Verma 1, Mandhana 0) Similar over for Verma facing Brown but this time the single is riskier. Mandhana doesn’t respond quickly enough and would have been run out had the throw from point hit the target.
1st over: India 1-0 (Verma 1, Mandhana 0) Perry with the new ball, Verma on strike. No immediate fireworks from the potentially explosive opener. Has a good look as Perry gets some swing, taps a single to cover point late in the over.
Back after the break, and India’s second innings will begin. They need to stack up some fast runs and declare to give themselves enough time to bowl out Australia. That’s if they want to win. Otherwise, they might go safety first and just bank the points for the draw, given they trail 2-4 in the multiformat series.
Dinner break – Australia trail by 136, India to bat
The long break is called after play was initially extended with Australia nine wickets down. So the match will lose no overs for the chance of innings. Interesting set-up now!
Australia's first innings declared 136 runs behind
96.4 overs: Australia 241-9 (Perry 67, Campbell 0) The new batter Stella Campbell is off strike with the wicket falling from the last ball of the over, but Perry is happy to expose her to the bowling after a single driven down the ground. Vastrakar hits Campbell on the pad but it’s going down the leg side.
And Australia will declare. Lanning calls them in 136 runs behind, and they’ve thrown down the gauntlet to India to set them a realistic enough target that Australia can have a shot at it, and India can try to bowl them out.
WICKET! Brown lbw Deepti 8, Australia 240-9
96th over: Australia 240-9 (Perry 67) Brown has done her job, getting Australia past the follow-on, but now she goes. A big off-break from Deepti, turning back into the right-hander and keeping low to hit her on the pad around her off stump. No chance the umpire was deciding anything else. Nine down.
95th over: Australia 240-8 (Perry 67, Brown 8) Perry hasn’t given up on her innings yet, rocking back and smacking a pull shot against Vastrakar behind square for four.
94th over: Australia 234-8 (Perry 63, Brown 8) All the boundaries are coming from Brown. Gets a leg-stump ball from Deepti and clips it behind square for four. Australia 143 behind.
93rd over: Australia 230-8 (Perry 63, Brown 4) You’re kidding! Perry gets dropped again. That makes three chances today by my count. Good hard length from Vastrakar, Perry pushes but I think just relaxes her hands at the last instant. The ball dips on Bhatia behind the stumps, not far to her right but just above ground level, and her reflex is to throw one glove down at it. Doesn’t stick.
92nd over: Australia 228-8 (Perry 61, Brown 0) Good work, Darcie Brown! Gets handed the strike when Perry drives wide of mid-off, and with Australia needing four to avoid the follow-on, Brown laces a drive through the covers for four! Hits the gap at extra cover, and this now means that once India take these last two wickets, they will either have to bat again or declare without doing so.
91st over: Australia 223-8 (Perry 60, Brown 0) Quality bowling from Vastrakar. Too good for thee, Darcie Brown. A ball that leaps back off the seam, beats the bat and bounces over middle stump.
WICKET! Wareham c Bhatia b Vastrakar 2, Australia 223-8
Another one down! Australia still five runs from the follow-on. They should still get there, but they’re making heavy weather of it. Sutherland, Molineux, Wareham, all out for 2. This time it’s Vastrakar the bowler after Goswami bowled five overs with the new ball. Wareham gets two runs pushing into the covers. The wicket delivery is length outside the off stump and Wareham just steps into a defensive shot, bat tight to pad, but has to reach for the ball. Takes a nick instead of the middle.
90th over: Australia 220-7 (Perry 59, Wareham 0) Meghna Singh to Wareham, bowling well wide of the off stump with big gaps on the leg side field. Seeing if they can persuade her to hack across the line. She doesn’t, but she does reach for a couple of very wide drives to no effect.
89th over: Australia 220-7 (Perry 59, Wareham 0) Goswami to Perry, battle of the champs, and Perry is so safety conscious that even when she gets a full toss she drives it very correctly straight to mid-off for no score. The last ball jags back in, so on track that it lodges right between Perry’s thighs in front of the stumps. That also helps show the umpire that it would have gone over the bails, so the polite appeal is refused.
88th over: Australia 220-7 (Perry 59, Wareham 0) The Australians bat deep, Wareham is very good with the stick, but if she falls quickly it could be interesting seeing the young debutants Darcie Brown and Stella Campbell trying to get these runs.
WICKET! Molineux lbw Meghna 2, Australia 220-7
Another one goes down! One delivery after Ellyse Perry gets dropped at gully by Deepti Sharma. There’s shadow halfway across the ground: the batter is in sunlight and the cordon is in shade. Perry gets a thick and fast outside edge that goes low to Deepti below knee height, and she can only parry it away. But that gets them a run, and the very next ball Meghna swings a ball down the line of the stumps to beat the left-hander’s defensive shot.
Eight runs left to the follow-on mark.
87th over: Australia 219-6 (Perry 58, Molineux 2) Good yorker from Goswami, nearly gets through Molineux. I think it’s a slower-ball variation, and it floats up to the stumps but the bat just comes down in time. Goswami follows it up with a slant across the left-hander that beats her edge as Molineux drives.
86th over: Australia 219-6 (Perry 58, Molineux 2) A couple of runs for Molineux, bringing the follow-on within 10 runs as she clips a straight ball from Meghna to the leg side. Then get a leg bye for a deflection going in the same direction.
85th over: Australia 216-6 (Perry 58, Molineux 0) Now Perry is getting twitchy. She’s the one facing Goswami, and doesn’t score from the over but does nearly run herself out. Plays it straight, gets a long way down before realising that Molineux isn’t running and has to go back.
84th over: Australia 216-6 (Perry 58, Molineux 0) Sophie Molineux a very good bat, she’s in at eight.
WICKET! Sutherland c Bhatia b Meghna 3, Australia 216 for 6
Lovely bowling from Meghna. Uses that angle in at the stumps and then swings it away a fraction. Just enough to take Sutherland’s edge after making her commit to playing down the line of the approaching ball. Australia still a dozen runs from the follow-on.
83rd over: Australia 214-5 (Perry 58, Sutherland 1) Sutherland facing Goswami again, and again just wants to get through the over. She does lean into one nice drive that gets stopped at cover, but otherwise defends stoutly and leaves when there’s width until the final ball, when she gets going with a run to cover.
82nd over: Australia 213-5 (Perry 58, Sutherland 0) Meghna Singh with the new ball, swinging away but Perry is happy to use her hands to follow the swing with an open face and drive square for two runs. Meghna gets no-balled later and that’s a back-footer! That’s rare. She cut the return crease with her back foot while trying to bowl as wide on the crease as possible.
81st over: Australia 210-5 (Perry 56, Sutherland 0) New ball for India after 80 overs, taken right away by Goswami. She gets a full over at Sutherland, who isn’t even thinking about scoring at this stage. Survives.
80th over: Australia 210-5 (Perry 56, Sutherland 0) A couple more runs for Perry cutting Gayakwad away. Perry hasn’t gone into her shell, tries a few shots through the off side but can’t beat the field.
79th over: Australia 208-5 (Perry 54, Sutherland 0) Australia 18 runs shy of the follow-on mark as Annabel Sutherland comes out to bat on her Test debut. She blocks her first three balls.
WICKET! Gardner c Raj b Deepti 51, Australia 208-5
And that’s it for Gardner. Wanting to up the ante after raising her fifty, she takes a step forward at Deepti and tries to lash over extra cover. The bowler tossed that one up invitingly. But Gardner is leaning back on the shot, not powering through it, and only skims to hard at mid-off where Raj takes a good catch diving forward.
Half century! Gardner 50 from 80 balls
78th over: Australia 208-4 (Perry 54, Gardner 51) Again the bounce of Gayakwad has Gardner cutting in the air! This time wide of the backward point catcher and it flies away for four. Raj adjusts the field: slip, silly point, silly mid off, three catchers close on the off side. But Gayakwad bowls too straight, and Gardner tucks two runs to midwicket for her own milestone, which has come around much more briskly than Perry’s. She adds another by darting a single from the last ball, surviving a direct hit at the non-striker’s end and electing against trying to run an overthrow.
77th over: Australia 201-4 (Perry 54, Gardner 44) Now Deepti is back, having been brought around to take Meghna’s end. Perry is using her feet very decisively, getting right back to take Deepti around the corner for a run but safely past the short leg catcher.
76th over: Australia 199-4 (Perry 53, Gardner 43) Gayakwad is back, so the extra Deepti over was just to help the left-armer switch ends. She bowls too short to Gardner though, and again we see the cut for four. Then a couple of twos pushed through the off side. The distance to the follow-on mark has come down to 29 runs.
Half century! Perry 53 from 155 balls
75th over: Australia 191-4 (Perry 45, Gardner 35) Bumper from Meghna Singh. Decent height but she loses it down the leg side, and Perry is quick to pull it for four! Away through fine leg. That’s the first ball of the over. The final ball is on the pads, and Perry glances it to the same spot on the fence for her fifty.
That makes four 50+ scores in her last four Test innings.
74th over: Australia 183-4 (Perry 45, Gardner 35) Interesting that Gayakwad was the spinner taken off when she was the one who created two chances in her first over. Deepti continues instead, but again drops short and this time it’s Gardner punishing her with a cut shot. Well in front of square, it ends up at the cover boundary. Two close catchers on the leg side for Gardner, so Deepti can’t afford width.
73rd over: Australia 177-4 (Perry 44, Gardner 30) Mithali Raj swaps things around and brings swing bowler Meghna Singh back. Again just a single for Gardner, and Perry sees out the rest.
72nd over: Australia 176-4 (Perry 44, Gardner 29) Starting to work Deepti’s bowling around a bit more effectively, the Australians, with a couple of singles and then Perry using her cut shot again for two more runs. She’s moving sedately towards her minor milestone.
71st over: Australia 172-4 (Perry 41, Gardner 28) Down the track from Gardner and bang! Clobbers Gayakwad over mid-on’s head and down to the rope.
70th over: Australia 168-4 (Perry 41, Gardner 24) Perry comes down the wicket to attack Deepti, driving hard along the ground but finding mid-on who is set quite deep. Gardner had got off strike with an outside edge.
69th over: Australia 167-4 (Perry 41, Gardner 23) Working that leg-side nudge profitably now is Gardner, rotating strike to get away from Gayakwad. The bowler gives Perry width, and she plays a cut shot so late that the ball was almost past the stumps when she made contact. Nor was it short. But that is Perry’s precision. Four runs.
68th over: Australia 162-4 (Perry 37, Gardner 22) One run flicked square by Gardner from Deepti’s over.
67th over: Australia 161-4 (Perry 37, Gardner 21) The left-arm spinner Gayakwad on to bowl, and Gardner is dropped! Cut shot, top edge as it’s spinning away from her, and that edge slices to backward point where Vastrakar puts it down lunging to her left. Fairly straightforward chance, no dive required, but she drops it. Then from the last ball of the over, Perry is hit on the pad but the appeal is denied. That looked very straight, but her bat was right next to the pad and there was doubt about which was hit first. Also she had a good stride down the pitch, so height could have been a factor.
66th over: Australia 160-4 (Perry 37, Gardner 20) Deepti Sharma on to bowl some off-spin, and Perry will cash in on anything loose. Outside leg stump and Perry gets down on one knee and sweeps behind square for four.
65th over: Australia 156-4 (Perry 33, Gardner 20) Great running from Gardner. Perry inside edges from Goswami, trickling towards midwicket, and isn’t thinking about a run at all but Gardner is off to the danger end and yells to call her through. Would have been a real hamstring-tester had it been Perry stretching for that run.
64th over: Australia 155-4 (Perry 32, Gardner 20) Beautiful bowling from Vastrakar. The ball ends up at fine leg for four again, but this time it was a curling inswinger, slightly short of yorker length, that Gardner just manages to get an inside edge on to keep it out of her stumps. Then when Vastrakar bowls length, she has Gardner cutting, a flail of a shot, and beaten by bounce.
63rd over: Australia 151-4 (Perry 32, Gardner 16) Off strike against Goswami first ball is Gardner, nudged to leg. Perry plays out the rest of the over, and gets drawn into a shot that beats her edge, just pushing outside off stump.
62nd over: Australia 150-4 (Perry 32, Gardner 15) Vastrakar gives Perry a gift first up, a leg-stump half volley that she can glance simply for four. Australia close the follow-on gap to 78.
61st over: Australia 146-4 (Perry 28, Gardner 15) Goswami starts things off. Straight into her good line just outside the off stump, Gardner watchfully defending and pushing one or two towards cover. The sixth ball is too full and Gardner drives a couple of runs.
A big job today for Jhulan Goswami, the pace leader. She bowled 14 overs yesterday and will need to lead the line, with seamers Pooja Vastrakar and Meghna Singh in support. If India are to get the incisions they need, you suspect that Goswami with her pace and bounce will have to be the one wielding the scalpel.
If India don’t get to bat again, will we have seen Mithali Raj for the last time in Test cricket? She played her first all the way back in 2002. And there’s a good chance she’ll retire after the 50-over World Cup in February. That would be that, as far as one of the greats is concerned.
We’ll have 100 overs in the day, so there is still time for India if they’re good enough. But batting conditions have been pretty chill throughout the match, though we’ve also lost some time to rain.
Hello, friends and fiends. Day four, the last, the final, the ultimate, in this women’s Test match between India and Australia – the first time these sides have played since 2006. And a good argument for having a fifth day in women’s matches, which so often end in draws, because this one will struggle to get a result unless there’s a crash of wickets.
We’re only into the second innings of the match, with Australia on 143 for 4, trailing India’s first-up score by 234 runs. The follow-on mark is 150 runs in four-day matches rather than the 200 we see in five-day Tests, so the Australians are still 84 runs away from saving it. If India can get them out short of that mark, the visitors are still a chance to win. If not, it’ll be hard to find a path.
The best news for Australia is that Ellyse Perry is still at the crease, the player born to play this format. Her last three innings: 76 not out, 116, and 213 not out.