That is the end of the multiformat series, Australia winning it 11 points to 5. India got robbed of the full 4 points from the Test match by rain, and probably 2 points in the first T20 too, when they were flying with the bat before they got washed out.
We saw some tremendous close finishes in the second and third one-dayers, and in the second T20 last night.
And some highly entertaining performances from a host of players: McGrath, Rodrigues, Mandhana, Goswami, Wareham, Gardner, Molineux, Pandey, Deepti, and on, and on.
It’s been good fun. There’s a long wait until the women’s Ashes in late January, but the Big Bash League for the women starts in less than a week, so switch onto that when and were you can.
That’s it from us. Take care.
Australia’s best performance of the T20 series tonight. Some low scores through the top order again - Lanning, Perry and Healy haven’t had much to cheer about - but Beth Mooney being the stable centre meant that the worst the score got was 73 for 4. Then McGrath and Wareham came in and did a job with the bat, just as they did last night. Wareham is quite an underrated resource in this team, though at least she’s been allowed to bowl recently.
That carried Australia to 149 for 6, when with six overs to go it looked like India could hold them to 130 or so.
Then India couldn’t get going in reply. Verma fell early, runs didn’t come while the field was up, and while Mandhana batted beautifully in terms of the aesthetics of her shots, she was also too slow with 52 from 49. Harmanpreet likewise couldn’t get going at pace, and speed of scoring was key tonight. It was a really tough chase, and no surprise they fell short.
Australia win by 14 runs
That sounds closer than it was, with Richa Ghosh’s 23 from 11 balls flattering India at the end. Perhaps next time they need to supercharge a chase, she’ll be the one sent out. It still took her a little time to get going.
20th over: India 135-6 (Ghosh 23, Deepti 9) Clipped off the pads by Deepti to start the over for four, which means that Australia can’t lose as long as Carey bowls no extras. She flirts with the wide line to the left-hander but lands it correctly, and that’s a dot. Game really over.
When she gets strike, Richa Ghosh does find one of the sixes they needed. Stands tall and gets under a straight drive.
Rocks back to the fifth ball and pulls that for six too! 19 runs required from 1 ball. Sound familiar?
She smashes the last ball through cover for four, and that is that.
19th over: India 114-6 (Ghosh 7, Deepti 4) No release shots for India against Molineux, who gives up no more than singles. Also could have had a stumping, but the ball keeps really low as it creeps through Ghosh, and ends up hitting Healy at the bottom of the shin pad rather than in the gloves.
India need 36 from the final over. Hmmmmm.
18th over: India 109-6 (Ghosh 5, Deepti 2) Richa Ghosh will have a go. Absolutely middles three shots. The first nearly breaks the non-striker’s stumps and scores nothing. The second is a genuine scoop shot over her own head for four. The third gets her one run to long-on. Eight runs and the run-out from the Sutherland over.
WICKET! Deol run out (Wareham) 1, India 102-6
Had to go for it. Deol clips Sutherland to midwicket, takes on the arm for the second, but the arm is terrific from Wareham and lasers the ball right next to the bails. Contrast that with some (all?) of the throwing that we’ve seen from India throughout this series.
17th over: India 101-5 (Ghosh 0, Deol 1) The air is out of the balloon for India. Harleen Deol to the middle, not someone with a history of fast scoring. Carey finishes off the over conceding only a run from the bat and a wide.
They need 49 from the last three overs, not going to happen.
WICKET! Vastrakar b Carey 5, India 99-5
Vastrakar! First ball of Carey’s over, and she carves it through extra cover for four. But the second ball the bowler carves through her stumps. Hit the yorker length perfectly and it goes under the toe of the bat as Vastrakar tries to flick leg side.
16th over: India 95-4 (Vastrakar 1, Ghosh 0) The task ahead looks too great from here. Ghosh and Vastrakar will just have to lash and hope, but doing that effectively when you’ve just come to the middle is hard going.
55 from 24 required.
WICKET! Harmanpreet c Lanning b Sutherland 13, India 95-4
Has to go, and has to go. Harry tries to clear cover but Lanning climbs high to bring in the overhead catch.
15th over: India 93-3 (Harmanpreet 12, Vastrakar 0) Good move from India, they’ve sent in Vastrakar to have a lash. She made 37 not out from 26 balls last night, including a couple of sixes. India need 57 from 30 from here.
WICKET! Mandhana c Lanning b Carey 52, India 92-3
That is class! Carey starts with a full toss, and so often you see players try to blast those as hard as they can. Instead Mandhana just pauses, turns the bat face up, and scoops it over fine leg for four. That’s her milestone. But the wicket follows from the fifth ball of the over, Mandhana trying to go over cover, slicing it too high and Lanning is able to run back from inside the circle and claim it.
14th over: India 86-2 (Mandhana 47, Harmanpreet 10) Different finger-spinner, same result. Mandhana hitting Molineux over mid-off this time for four. I like the tactics from Australia though to keep that fielder up. It only takes one mistake to end Mandhana’s night. She teases the deep midwicket with a slog-sweep but it lands short. The over goes for 9. They’re not willing to push for a fast second, either. Probably three times when it might have been on, but declined. Got to roll the dice a bit, no?
64 off 36 required.
13th over: India 77-2 (Mandhana 40, Harmanpreet 8) Loves the off-drive, does Mandhana, and they leave that fielder up for her. Over the top she goes from Gardner. Then goes back to pull, but loses strike to the outfielder. Harmanpreet joins in with a slog-sweep for four, splitting the leg-side riders perfectly. Add in some singles and that’s 11 off the over, good but they have to keep scoring that rate.
Gardner finishes her four overs with 1 for 22, outstanding. India need 73 from 42 balls.
12th over: India 66-2 (Mandhana 34, Harmanpreet 3) Annabel Sutherland for her first over of the night. Harmanpreet defends the first ball, then whips a single. It doesn’t get better than that for India. Four runs from the over! Cannot afford that.
84 from 48 required. As is something monumental.
11th over: India 62-2 (Mandhana 33, Harmanpreet 1) India’s captain to the middle. She has been timing the ball beautifully in the previous two T20s. Needs to do so through the next nine overs tonight.
WICKET! Rodrigues c Vlaeminck b Wareham 23, India 2-60
Both players feel they have to go hard at Wareham. Mid-on is up, so Rodrigues hits four over her head on the charge. But long-off is back, and her second attempt at a big shot a couple of balls later goes that way instead. Straightforward catch.
10th over: India 54-1 (Mandhana 31, Rodrigues 18) Desperate for a big over now, India, to change the dynamic. They don’t get it from Molineux. One ball keeps low and creeps past off stump. Both players keep finding Perry at mid-on or mid-off depending who is facing. But at last, from the sixth ball, Mandhana finds the rope instead. Down through long-on after advancing to the pitch.
96 from 60 balls.
9th over: India 47-1 (Mandhana 26, Rodrigues 16) Gardner for her third over, hasn’t put a foot wrong while bowling tonight. Appeal as she hits Mandhana on the pad, not given, ball-tracking says going over. Scoreboard says four singles from the over. Big win for Australia. India need 9.36. Which in this case means 103 from 66.
8th over: India 43-1 (Mandhana 24, Rodrigues 14) Carey now with her skiddy seam-up bowling. Rodrigues flays away off the top edge to deep third and scolds herself for not evading the fielder. But it brings Mandhana on strike, who steps across her stumps and picks up Carey over square leg for four! Lovely shot, pre-empted Carey’s line outside off stump.
Now she goes back on her stumps and pulls, nearly beating fine leg but not quite. More singles follow, 8 runs from the over. They need almost 9 per.
107 from 72.
7th over: India 35-1 (Mandhana 18, Rodrigues 12) As the field goes back, Mandhana decides to attack. Advances and drives over extra cover, but Gardner gets around to save. Rodrigues sweeps hard behind square and they get back for two. Then another hustled second run as Rodrigues works square. Wareham is the bowler, leg-spin early. Her over costs 7.
6th over: India 28-1 (Mandhana 17, Rodrigues 6) Molineux comes on to close out the powerplay, and does it really well. Only three runs possible, one from the pad, as she stays tight on the stumps. 28 with the field up is not what you want if you’re India.
122 required in 84 balls.
5th over: India 25-1 (Mandhana 17, Rodrigues 4) There’s the boundary for Mandhana! Uses Vlaeminck’s pace to clip off the pads just behind square, beating the fine leg who comes around. The bowler gets away with a couple angled wide across the left-hander, but when she brings back her line Mandhana climbs into a hook shot for four! Glorious sound! That cracks off the willow, over midwicket!
Now the wides do start to come. One outside off stump, one marginally down leg. Healy saves four extras. Another attempt at the fifth ball of the over, and Mandhana dismisses it through point for four! Just lays into that cut shot and doesn’t move! Exhilarating batting, in an over that goes for 14.
4th over: India 11-1 (Mandhana 5, Rodrigues 4) Australia sucking all the air out of the innings! The in-fielding is tight. The out-fielders, only two of them in the powerplay, are in exactly the right place. Mandhana finds one of them at deep cover, the other at deep midwicket. Four singles from Gardner’s over.
They need 139 from 96.
3rd over: India 7-1 (Mandhana 3, Rodrigues 2) Vlaeminck carries on with pace, a bouncer past Mandhana’s nose, then another short ball that the left-hander hooks beautifully but deep fine prevents four. Rodrigues looks calm and collected, steering a run to deep third, before Mandhana gets an under-edge into the ground and through to Healy. The bowler has conceded four runs from two overs defending 150: that’s godly stuff.
2nd over: India 5-1 (Mandhana 2, Rodrigues 1) Big result for Australia early on. Held India to five runs from the first two overs.
WICKET! Verma c Vlaeminck b Gardner 1, India 3-1
Oh, no! That’s an accidental wicket. Gardner just grimaces, then gives an embarrassed grin. She drags down a short one outside Verma’s leg stump, and Shafali would normally punt that toward the floodlights. This time she hits flat behind square. Straight to the short fine fielder. Goodness me.
Molineux has been the spinner in the powerplay in the previous two matches, but Gardner does that job and gets the fortunate result tonight.
1st over: India 2-0 (Mandhana 1, Verma 1) Tayla Vlaeminck, the fastest in the land, to begin as she has done for each T20 match in this series. Does it well tonight. Two singles, a hook from Mandhana and a nick from Verma, who holds back from trying to flog anything into the seats at this early stage.
Second innings underway.
Mooney outstanding again, 61 from 43 balls.
Her scores across formats in this series: 125*, 52, 4, 11, 34, 61.
McGrath has gone 74, 47, 28, 42*, 44*.
Of the bowlers with four overs: Deepti Sharma and Pooja Vastrakar both 1 for 24, Renuka Singh 1 for 23, and Gayakwad 2 for 37. Take out Gayakwad’s one expensive over and Harmanpreet’s over that went for 14 and this would be a modest Australian score. Such are the margins.
India must chase 150 to win
That’s advantage Australia at the halfway mark. Chasing 150 will be a big ask, and everything will need to go right at the top of the order. Early wickets and this should be Australia’s game. But here’s a final chance for Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana to put on a show together.
20th over: Australia 149-5 (McGrath 44, Wareham 13) Spin for the final over, this will be interesting as a contrast to last night. Deepti does really well, following the batters for the first couple of balls and keeping them to singles. Wareham eventually gets so far outside leg stump that she can drive inside out over mid-off for four. McGrath can only dig out a yorker with two balls left, and Wareham does something similar as Deepti floats the last ball right in at her heels. They come back for a second run, and there is a very long third umpire replay to see whether there is a run out. Deepti at the bowler’s end has fumbled the ball while trying to knock the stumps with her wrist, but might be touching the ball at the crucial moment. Eventually the ump says he’s not sure, so Wareham gets one more run and McGrath gets a red ink in the book.
19th over: Australia 139-5 (McGrath 42, Wareham 5) This is good stuff from India tonight. Shikha Pandey is trying to bowl wide yorkers, and despite one slipping out as a high full toss, some sharp fielding keeps each ball to one run. Jemimah Rodrigues puts in a great dive at deep point. But to end the over McGrath opens the blade right up and drives well behind point, beating the field for four.
18th over: Australia 129-5 (McGrath 36, Wareham 1) Mooney may be gone, but McGrath is still there. Backs away to clear out some swinging room and just plants Gayakwad down the ground for six! The first of the night. Then backs away and drags a pull shot fiercely through square for four. So the wicket of Mooney for India, but also 16 runs conceded from the other five balls.
WICKET! Mooney c Harmanpreet b Gayakwad 61, Australia 117-5
Rajeshwari Gayakwad does it again! Got Mooney late in the innings last night, and stops her from leading a late charge tonight. Mooney donks the first ball of the over for four over midwicket, but the second one she tries to slam through cover and India’s captain takes the love diving catch despite a bobble as she hits the ground.
17th over: Australia 113-4 (Mooney 57, McGrath 25) Tee-off time! Vastrakar the seamer bowling, and McGrath steps down to flat-bat her off a length and over mid-off. Then stretches wide of the stumps and diverts a full ball through point for four. Those were the first and last deliveries of the over. The intervening four were fresh-air swings. So, it worked, more or less, but still not a huge over.
16th over: Australia 105-4 (Mooney 57, McGrath 17) Five overs to go. Deepti Sharma with spin. Harmanpreet stuck with pace at the end of the second innings last night, and Australia won the match. Will it be spin tonight? Mooney can work it though: knows that Deepti will bowl wide across her, so she pulls out the reverse sweep for four. Nearly stumped when she tries the conventional sweep, but manages to keep her toe from lifting. So despite that boundary, six from the over.
Half century! Mooney 51 from 36 balls
15th over: Australia 99-4 (Mooney 52, McGrath 16) That’s a better over for Australia! Twice through cover, once from Mooney, once from McGrath. The former more about timing, the latter with tremendous power, as Renuka Singh goes for 10. That’s her day done with 1 for 23.
14th over: Australia 89-4 (Mooney 47, McGrath 11) Gayakwad returns, two overs left. This should be good, the tension of whether Australia can attack the spinner. She’s almost through McGrath, who cuts right off the stumps and just makes contact. Mooney’s attempt at the sweep shot doesn’t work, but the right-handed McGrath’s version does, stepping well across to hit flat and hard for four.
Still, a couple of dots in the over, seven runs in total, and India would take that.
13th over: Australia 82-4 (Mooney 46, McGrath 5) A good holding over from Renuka Singh, bowling her third. Singles only, and she has 1 for 13 from three overs.
12th over: Australia 77-4 (Mooney 44, McGrath 2) The old firm, then. Mooney and McGrath have had to do some important work together this series. Four runs and a wicket from Deepti’s over. India have held the Aussies well so far, but this pair can score quickly.
WICKET! Perry c Vastrakar b Deepti 8, Australia 74-4
Coming in halfway through the innings, Perry feels the responsibility to take on the bowling. Lofted over long-on has long been her cleanest shot, and she advances to play it, but hits too flat and Vastrakar is there. Stumbles backwards a bit just as the ball reaches her, but she holds her composure enough to hold the catch.
11th over: Australia 73-3 (Mooney 42, Perry 8) Some bad luck for Vastrakar, a deflection off Mooney’s foot and away for four leg byes through fine leg. They don’t go against the bowler’s name, but they do go on the score. That makes nine from an otherwise good over.
10th over: Australia 64-3 (Mooney 41, Perry 4) Deepti Sharma to bowl her off-breaks and take us up to the halfway mark of the innings. Floats her first up to Mooney, who can’t time a drive. A couple of quiet singles, then Mooney slaps a sweep shot over midwicket but there’s a boundary rider there. Four from the over.
9th over: Australia 60-3 (Mooney 39, Perry 2) Ellyse Perry to the middle. And finds the middle, clipping her first ball so precisely into a leg-side gap that she considers coming back for a third run. Hits a cut shot straight to point, then rehearses it. Lanning and Perry have been pretty quiet by their standards in the recent white-ball games, wonder if she can change that tonight.
WICKET! Gardner c Ghosh b Vastrakar 1, Australia 58-3
There’s the Ghosh appeal again, all guns blazing! Gardner wafts a drive at a pitched-up ball from Vastrakar, doesn’t account for a bit of seam movement, and it takes probably the back corner of the edge of the bat with the faintest touch as it goes by. The umpire’s ears pick it up through. Danger player gone.
8th over: Australia 58-2 (Mooney 39, Gardner 1) Harmanpreet brings herself on to bowl, but doesn’t do a good job of it. Right-arm over to a left-hander, lobbing some innocuous spin outside Mooney’s leg stump, short of length into the bargain, and Mooney tugs three in a row through fine leg for four.
WICKET! Lanning hit wicket b Gayakwad 14, Australia 44-2
7th over: Australia 44-2 (Mooney 26) You don’t often see that! I mentioned Lanning’s off-side play, and one of her best shots is the cut. She gets back so deep in her crease and can piece the off-side surgically. And she does exactly that from the last ball of this over, striking the ball beautifully to the fence behind point, but she’s chopped the bail off the top of the stump. So late did she cut that ball that she’s lit up her own wicket. With so glancing a contact that she didn’t even notice. But Richa Ghosh did. Lanning set off to the non-striker’s end but Ghosh was appealing long and loud. Out.
6th over: Australia 38-1 (Mooney 25, Lanning 9) Vastrakar to finish off the period of fielding restrictions: the seaming all-rounder who was so good with the bat last night. Lanning finds the boundary from her bowling though, that impeccable off-side play from the Australian captain as she forces through cover.
5th over: Australia 29-1 (Mooney 22, Lanning 3) Rajeshwari Gayakwad on in the powerplay, the left-arm spinner who took three key wickets last night and pushed that match so close at the end. They work her around alright though, spinning the singles before Mooney glides a boundary to end the over.
4th over: Australia 21-1 (Mooney 16, Lanning 1) Renuka Singh tightens the run rate back up. Mooney tries to drag across the line but gets nowhere. And a good piece of fielding in the covers from Vastrakar keeps a likely boundary to one. That’s the stuff.
3rd over: Australia 18-1 (Mooney 14, Lanning 0) Pandey to continue, but the left-hander doesn’t find her difficult at all. Mooney opens the face of her bat to slash four behind square, then steps forward to cover-drive another. Third ball in the sequence, Mooney picks it up off her legs and flicks behind square. Renuka Singh is half a chance to catch it out there, but doesn’t time her approach to the ball and then lets the half-volley through her to the rope. The number of boundaries that India could have saved in this series could have been the difference between winning and losing it.
2nd over: Australia 5-1 (Mooney 1, Lanning 0) The Aussie skipper to the crease, and defends the final ball of the over.
WICKET! Healy c Ghosh b Renuka Singh 4, Australia 5-1
But the wicket falls at the other end! Healy scores one boundary through the covers, angled bat and slapped away. But the next ball is a touch short from Renuka, Healy pushes at it outside the off stump, and Ghosh up to the stumps deflects the nick up in the air and takes it on the rebound.
1st over: Australia 0-0 (Healy 0, Mooney 0) No run from the opening over! Pandey has Healy worried. Taking guard well across on off stump to guard against swing. But the Indians are wise to the concern, and have the keeper up to the stumps so Healy can’t bat out of her crease. One ball swings in prodigiously again, and nails her on the pad. Umpire says no. Might have thought it hit outside the line. I don’t think it did. DRS would have given that out. Pandeymonium once again.
Of course, this was the moment of last night that has gone crazy around the world online. Shikha Pandey versus Alyssa Healy. The same contest is about to resume tonight.
Here we go...
Two rotations tonight to give young players a shot: Hannah Darlington makes way for Annabel Sutherland, and Yastika Bhatia for Harleen Deol.
Alyssa Healy +
Meg Lanning *
Harmanpreet Kaur *
Richa Ghosh +
India win the toss and will bowl
There’s a little boost for India. They’ve been told to bat first in the previous two games, but they’ll get a chance to know their target tonight.
The toss should be coming up shortly. Dew was a factor by the end of last night’s match, so most likely whoever wins will choose to bowl first.
And then there was one. One more game to go. One T20 International left in the Australia-India multiformat series, the first time the Australians have used this format outside the Ashes. Which is great, because England and now Australia have played Test matches against India in the last few months, and hopefully that’s a step towards seeing more of it, and seeing it better supported by cricket boards.
Australia have won this series already, leading 9 points to 5 across the matches so far. But India can count themselves very unlucky. They lost one 50-over match in the final over trying to bowl with a slippery ball. They were well on top in the Test match and the first T20, only to be denied by rain both times. And they lost a close one last night in the second T20. They also had fielding mishaps and captaincy mistakes at key moments that didn’t help. But even despite those, they probably would have won this series if not for rain. It hasn’t been a performance of dominance by the world champs.
So here is one last chance to make a statement. To at least close up the margin and make it better reflect the closeness. Or, the Australians might be bubbly after sealing the win and India might be flat, so it could slide the other way hard. Who knows? This series has defied prediction throughout.