Well, I won’t be sleeping for a while! What an unbelievable finish! After Healy, Lanning and Perry were out I was expecting an early night for us all, but Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath and Nicola Carey had other ideas. That’s certainly a way to come up with a 26th consecutive win. It’s a real shame for India, who batted beautifully and were so dominant with the ball early on. In the end Australia dragged themselves over the line with pure determination and competitiveness, taking advantage of every little fumble and half mistake that India made. While it would have been nice to go into the third ODI at 1-1, this will at least put some fire under India and may possibly tempt Australia into making some changes to give a couple of players a rest before the Test match next week.
I hope you enjoyed that finish as much as I did! Thanks for hanging out with me, what a game it’s been! We’ll see you back here on Sunday - same bat-place, different bat-time (it starts at 10am). Until then, take some inspiration into your backyard and get out there and run a bunch of twos until your face is as red as Beth Mooney’s.
Australia win by 5 wickets on the final ball!
50th over: Australia 275-5 (Carey 39, Mooney 125)
OK, here we go! Goswami brings all her experience to the final over and Mooney starts on strike to try to get Australia over the line and keep their winning streak alive. India are playing around with their field so much I thought George Bailey was captaining them for a second. Mooney can’t get the full toss all the way away on the first ball, but a misfield sees them take three runs. Another misfield on the second gives them two and suddenly the target is more manageable. The third ball is a beamer that strikes Carey right on the badge and after a concussion test, she takes a free hit, but can’t get bat on ball and just manages a single. They get another single from the next ball and now need 5 from 2. Carey gets a bit of bat on the next one and another little fumble in the field gives them two and Carey is on strike for the final ball of the match. It comes even further down to the wire, when Carey is caught, but the ball is sent for review to check if it’s above waist height. It is!! A no ball and a free hit to follow - Australia just needs 2 runs from it to win the game. There’s a lot of discussion with the umpires to confirm how many runs are required and we get confirmation that the batters hadn’t crossed and it’s Carey to face the final ball. Again. The two speedsters race away as soon as the ball is hit and they dash through for two runs and take the win!
49th over: Australia 262-5 (Carey 33, Mooney 122)
Beth Mooney looks a bit like she did when she was playing that WBBL final for the Heat against the Sixers at Drummoyne Oval. She doesn’t have much left in the tank and who can blame her? She’s been playing cricket for a ridiculous amount of hours today and hasn’t had a break. Carey gets away with a chance that looks like it should have been given LBW, but the umpires shakes her head. Mooney overcomes her exhaustion to pull one for four and then takes a wild swing at the next one and is lucky that the edge falls safely. Carey runs a quick single to get Mooney back on strike. Again there’s a chance for a catch, but Rodrigues puts it down and Mooney gets another couple of runs. It’s just a single from the last ball to set up a nailbiting final over.
48th over: Australia 252-5 (Carey 32, Mooney 114)
It’s Yadav to bowl and Mooney takes her on immediately, coming down the wicket to her. But they’re struggling to get past the field at the moment with the wet, slow outfield. They’re running plenty of twos, but it’s not enough at this stage, they need a boundary. A dropped catch on the fourth ball helps Australia, but they need more. Finally Mooney finds a boundary on the last ball of the over to keep the hope alive.
47th over: Australia 242-5 (Carey 31, Mooney 105)
This game could still go either way, which is not something I imagined I’d be saying after the first three wickets fell! Mooney looks to go big immediately, but it’s straight to the field. However she finds the gap next ball - it’s not a boundary, but she does get two. There’s a run out attempt as the Australians scramble for two, but Sharma doesn’t have the ball in hand when she hits the stumps and Carey get a life. Sharma looks a bit rattled after that mistake and gives up a wide, but fights back with a dot ball. Carey goes for another reverse sweep to finish the over - it’s a good one, but again she can’t find the boundary.
46th over: Australia 234-5 (Carey 29, Mooney 100)
Yadav comes on to bowl at this critical time and will be hoping to weave some magic or at least dry up the runs. Mooney pulls one hard from the first ball, but it’s only a single. Carey can’t get past the field and the dot ball pressure increases. She sets herself early next ball and pulls out the reverse sweep over the field, but it doesn’t find the boundary. She tries that option again next ball, but it doesn’t get past the fielders and they scramble through for a single. Mooney brings up a well-deserved century with a single on the next ball.
45th over: Australia 229-5 (Carey 26, Mooney 98)
The required run rate is creeping back up and there’s frustration creeping into Mooney and Carey’s play. Carey nearly gives up her wicket late in the over, but Ghosh can’t get the stumping. Sharma is doing a great job with her yorkers and isn’t offering much to the batters.
44th over: Australia 223-5 (Carey 22, Mooney 96)
India are cramping the Australians up now, with their fielders up inside the circle, trying to create dot ball pressure. They get two dots to start and then Carey gets Mooney back on strike. Mooney dashes through for two runs - these two are running so well together. They’re all over every opportunity for another run, but the young Indian fielders are just as keen to cut them off, especially sub fielder Rodrigues.
43rd over: Australia 218-5 (Carey 20, Mooney 93)
Well this is getting very exciting now! This game has had more twists and turns than a Jane Harper novel. Mooney and Carey are so speedy between the wickets and are keeping the chat up out there. They have a real belief that they can still do this. Sharma gets a little rattled and gives up a wide, the Australians will happily take that. Mooney offers a chance the next ball, but the catch falls just short of Raj. Mooney is really accelerating now. She edges closer to her century, but that will be far from her mind right now.
42nd over: Australia 210-5 (Carey 17, Mooney 89)
A lovely shot from Carey on the first ball of the over, flicking it around the corner for four and adding plenty of that pesky dew to the ball. Mooney brings the crowd back into it with a beautiful little scoop for the second boundary of the over. Vastrakar fights back with a couple of dots late in the over and doesn’t let the pressure of the moment get to her. But Mooney isn’t done yet and she finishes with another boundary to take 13 from the over.
41st over: Australia 197-5 (Carey 12, Mooney 81)
Sharma is bowling her sixth over and Carey starts it with a single. Next ball, Mooney dances down the wicket and smacks it for four, driving it aggressively past long on. Carey keeps rotating the strike and they keep the hope alive by turning dots into ones.
40th over: Australia 188-5 (Carey 9, Mooney 75)
Mooney gets a single from a fumble in the field to ease her way into being Australia’s top scorer for today. Carey and Vastrakar get their first look at each other and start with a dot. Carey clips away the next ball to pick up a couple of runs, but Vastrakar fights back with two consecutive dots and Carey finishes with a single.
39th over: Australia 184-5 (Carey 6, Mooney 74)
The required run rate is still quite high, but there is a lot more belief in this Australian pair now and they look like they could pull this off if they play their cards right. Unfortunately McGrath doesn’t quite do that and off she goes, with Carey taking her place and needing to accelerate from the start under incredible pressure. She gets off the mark very confidently with a nice shot that almost goes for four, but she can’t follow it up next ball, which is short and wide. But on the final ball of the over, she does get the four she was looking for and it’s a good start. for her.
WICKET! McGrath c Bhatia b Sharma 74, Australia 178-5
Well just when it looked like Australia might pull this off, Sharma gets her first, luring McGrath into a wild swing and Bhatia takes an easy catch.
38th over: Australia 175-4 (McGrath 74, Mooney 71)
If Brad Hodge talks about AFLM one more time I’m hoping one of you kind folks in Melbourne might go and give him a stern talking to for me. Meanwhile McGrath and Mooney keep going like they’re in the middle of a game of cricket and not some kind of bizarre warm up for a football grand final. Very strange, but it seems to be working for them. Mooney’s footwork is outstanding tonight and she lofts a beautiful shot over the field that unfortunately for her doesn’t get the reward of a boundary. She is unfazed and pushes hard for a single to finish the over.
37th over: Australia 169-4 (McGrath 73, Mooney 68)
The momentum is very slowly starting to turn towards Australia - the kind of slowly that you can’t actually see, like the rotation of the Earth, but you trust that it’s happening. Mooney drives past long on for four to really solidify that feeling and the Indian fielders aren’t looking as sharp as the required run rate starts to tick down.
36th over: Australia 160-4 (McGrath 71, Mooney 61)
Mooney uses her feet well to get off strike at the start of Gayakwad’s over. The plan from the Australians seems to be to take the opportunities when they come and turn dots into ones in the meantime with quick, smart running. One of those opportunities comes up before too long and McGrath sweeps it through deep backward square for four. She finishes with a single, they’re determined to cut out as many dot balls as they can.
35th over: Australia 152-4 (McGrath 65, Mooney 59)
A handy edge from Mooney starts the over, getting past the keeper and with no third back, it’s an easy boundary. She’ll take them however they come to her at the moment! She gets McGrath on strike soon after and she takes advantage of a little fumble in the field to get a single. Singh is trying to get a wicket here, but the Australians are less intimidated by her this spell. McGrath finishes by going over the top, but she can’t get it to the boundary.
34th over: Australia 143-4 (McGrath 62, Mooney 53)
Gayakwad returns for her sixth over and there’s plenty of intent from the Australians, but the required run rate keeps inching up and it’s going to be a very hard road from here.
33rd over: Australia 136-4 (McGrath 57, Mooney 51)
McGrath goes for a big sweep on the first ball of the over that goes straight to Goswami. Unfortunately the fast bowler can’t hold on to it and it goes straight through her hands and McGrath gets a life. Mooney brings up her half-century shortly after - she would have liked to do it quicker, but she has been a shining light in the top order tonight under very difficult circumstances. McGrath cuts for four, determined to keep pushing the run rate up and they finish with a couple of singles.
32nd over: Australia 128-4 (McGrath 51, Mooney 49)
The required run rate has crept over 8 an over now and they’ve got Goswami to face. She oversteps and gives away a front foot no ball on the second and the Australians get a chance at a free hit with McGrath on strike. It’s a very well bowled ball though and McGrath can’t get it away. She brings up her half-century on the next ball with an easy single before Mooney scrambles through for a single of her own. McGrath’s intent is clear at the moment, but she’s just not quite timing it well enough to inflict the damage she wants to. She’s been solid without being destructive so far.
31st over: Australia 122-4 (McGrath 48, Mooney 47)
Australia can approach this as a T20 now and 157 to get from 20 overs isn’t an impossible task. But in a T20 game you’d be looking at two confident openers striding in to start and this situation is far from that. These batters have the ability to do it, but it’s going to take some work. The field is getting more and more dew on it, which will help, but they’ll have to take matters into their own hands a bit more too. McGrath mistimes a shot and sends it straight up in the air, but luckily for her it fell safely - she looked in real danger there for a second.
30th over: Australia 118-4 (McGrath 46, Mooney 45)
The dangerous Goswami is back, Raj wants this partnership broken immediately. McGrath doesn’t appear too troubled by her to start. Each of the batters get a single, which is much more than the Australians were able to get from her at the start, so that’s a win. McGrath looks to use the speed of the ball, but can’t get her timing quite right. On the last ball of the over, she finally gets past the field, but can’t send the ball all the way to the boundary.
29th over: Australia 114-4 (McGrath 43, Mooney 44)
Deepti Sharma comes back for her second over and the Australians continue to rotate the strike and pick up runs where they can. They’re aware of the need to accelerate, but also know that they can’t afford to lose a wicket at the moment. They’re not letting the run rate creep up too high, but it will start to get away from them soon if they’re not able to find the boundary more often.
28th over: Australia 110-4 (McGrath 40, Mooney 42)
Yadav takes her fourth over and McGrath starts with a single. Mooney moves early to her again, but this time she can’t get the shot away. The next ball she does, but it doesn’t get past the field. India seem to have answers for almost everything Australia are throwing at them. McGrath finally gets the boundary they’ve both been searching for on the fourth with a confident pull shot. They finish the over with a couple of singles.
27th over: Australia 102-4 (McGrath 34, Mooney 41)
Deepti Sharma comes on for her first over and Mooney picks up a single from her immediately. McGrath slightly mistimes her first shot, but still gets bat on it and gets Mooney back on strike. They get the 50 partnership, but they were only dealing in singles that over and the pace isn’t there yet.
26th over: Australia 98-4 (McGrath 32, Mooney 39)
Vastrakar draws an edge from McGrath, but it falls safely and she manages a single. There’s a run out attempt on the second - it’s a good direct hit, but Mooney is well in her crease. McGrath follows up with another one of her beautiful drives and sends the ball over the boundary again. She’s really upped her strike rate now and is giving Australia a glimmer of hope. She can’t replicate it on the last few balls though and finishes with a play and miss.
25th over: Australia 92-4 (McGrath 27, Mooney 38)
Mooney picks Yadav’s first ball very early and reverse sweeps it down past third for four. She rotates the strike on the second to give McGrath a look at her. She also sets herself very early, gets her feet around and pulls it past square leg to the boundary. Mooney doesn’t take any risks on the last ball and it’s Australia’s best over so far.
24th over: Australia 81-4 (McGrath 21, Mooney 33)
Mooney plays with intent on the first ball, but the stroke is uppish and it’s nearly caught by Rodrigues. McGrath puts a ball up in the air too, but it goes over the field and runs away to the boundary. She looks to go again, but plays and misses two in a row. She’s having a bit of trouble with balls pitched outside off stump at the moment.
23rd over: Australia 75-4 (McGrath 16, Mooney 32)
Yadav takes her second over and the Indians are really enjoying this match. They’re throwing themselves at everything, cheering each other on and celebrating great fielding. They appear to be a very happy, settled group and are very confident in this game. The Australians grab a couple of singles, but they don’t look like opening up.
22nd over: Australia 73-4 (McGrath 15, Mooney 31)
There’s some heavy dew coming into play now, which the Australians will be hoping starts to trouble the bowlers. Vastrakar over pitches a ball to McGrath who flicks it off her pads for four. She’s had a few good shots here and there but she needs to string a few more together and up the pace of this run chase. McGrath lets a couple of balls go before driving one to deep point for a single. Vastrakar finishes the over with a very good short ball to Mooney and she can’t get bat on it.
21st over: Australia 68-4 (McGrath 10, Mooney 31)
We get our first look at Poonam Yadav, who was so damaging against Australia in the opening game of the T20 World Cup last year. McGrath plays cautiously for the first few balls. It takes until the fifth ball for McGrath to get herself off strike, with a straight drive down the ground. Mooney plays another defensive shot to finish off the over.
20th over: Australia 66-4 (McGrath 9, Mooney 30)
Another over from Vastrakar and Mooney starts it assertively with a lovely flick through to deep square leg for a single. McGrath then takes her on with a strong drive past point for four. India appeals on the fourth, but the umpire isn’t having any of it. They think they’ve got McGrath again on the fifth, convinced they got an inside edge through to the keeper, but there doesn’t appear to be any bat on it. McGrath plays it safe with a defensive shot on the last.
19th over: Australia 61-4 (McGrath 5, Mooney 29)
Gayakwad bowls her fifth over and McGrath plays a confident cover drive on the third ball and finds the gap in the field to pick up her first boundary. She tries to play the same shot again on the next ball, but the timing isn’t quite there and it doesn’t get past the field. She can’t find any more scoring opportunities in the over.
18th over: Australia 57-4 (McGrath 1, Mooney 29)
Vastrakar returns for her second over after getting the big breakthrough of Gardner in her last. Mooney is playing confident looking shots, but they’re not finding the gaps at all - she plays out four dot balls and the fourth causes her a bit of anxiety bouncing into the deck off her bat and trickling back towards her stumps. On the fifth she runs a desperate single and McGrath gets off the mark with an easy single on the last.
17th over: Australia 55-4 (McGrath 0, Mooney 28)
There’s nearly another run out to start this over with some confusion between Mooney and McGrath about taking a third run, but Mooney makes it back to her crease. Mooney needs to have a big innings here if Australia is to have any hope of winning this game. Gayakwad continues with her left arm orthodox and Mooney doesn’t look as comfortable as she usually would. She manages a quick single and McGrath defends off the final ball of the over to give the strike back to Mooney.
16th over: Australia 52-4 (McGrath 0, Mooney 25)
If we can get the commentary team away from talking to Mitch Starc about the Men’s Ashes we might get to see a bit more of this game soon. Vastrakar comes on for her first over and it’s a similar approach from the Australians, rotating the strike and defending. But Gardner gets caught out and McGrath comes to the crease to see off the last ball of the over.
WICKET! Gardner c Bhatia b Vastrakar 12, Australia 52-4
Gardner gets caught not moving her feet and edges a ball to first slip. It’s not good news for Australia.
15th over: Australia 50-3 (Gardner 11, Mooney 24)
Gayakwad comes back for her third over and Mooney takes another single on the second, happy to keep rotating the strike. It pays off - Gardner takes one ball to get her eye in, then sends the next one to the boundary. She follows up with a couple of defensive shots and a misfield on the second of them gives her a quick single.
14th over: Australia 44-3 (Gardner 6, Mooney 23)
Singh is back for her seventh consecutive over and she starts with a short ball, before changing it up and bowling fuller and the Australians look to rotate the strike. It’s an excellent fielding effort from the Indians who aren’t letting anything past them and keep putting the pressure back on the Australians. Singh finishes with three dots in a row and the Australians will be pleased to see drinks coming on to the field.
13th over: Australia 42-3 (Gardner 5, Mooney 22)
Gayakwad continues and again the Australians don’t have much to counter her with. They’re getting bat on ball, but it’s not finding the gaps in the field. The pressure is building and they look nervous and hesitant. They scramble for a quick single on the last, but will need to start doing more.
12th over: Australia 40-3 (Gardner 4, Mooney 21)
Singh continues - she’s up and about and Raj clearly wants to take another wicket here. She’s got Gardner rattled at the crease, she’s not looking comfortable at all. Singh is getting the ball swinging away from Gardner and it’s exactly the right approach. It nearly gets her a wicket on the fourth ball when Gardner edges it through slips, but it runs away to the boundary for four. Gardner looks more comfortable with her shots late in the over, but she can’t beat the field again.
11th over: Australia 35-3 (Gardner 0, Mooney 20)
Gayakwad comes on for her first over of the summer and the Australians get their first look at spin for this match. Mooney starts very cautiously, allowing three dot balls before waiting on a delivery and taking an easy single to get Gardner on strike. Gardner plays a couple of defensive shots to ease herself in and finish off the over.
10th over: Australia 34-3 (Gardner 0, Mooney 19)
Mooney takes it easy for the first couple of balls - she’s aware of the important role she has to play. The third ball is a shorter delivery and she delights in pulling it to the boundary for another four. She’s starting to open up now and tries to take a quick single, which Perry wasn’t ready for. Gardner comes in to see out the over and now there’s a new partnership to build.
WICKET! Perry run out (Vastrakar) 2, Australia 34-3
Well what a mix up - Perry was too slow to react to Mooney’s call and it’s a simple run out for India.
9th over: Australia 30-2 (Perry 2, Mooney 15)
Perry starts the over with a defensive shot and the next ball gets her on the legs - India are interested in an appeal, but it’s way too high. Perry gets a nice pull shot away on the third, but she can’t get it past fine leg and it’s just a single. Mooney plays a nice drive on the third - it’s straight to the field, but it’s a lovely, confident looking shot and sure enough on the fourth she finds a beautiful pull shot past deep mid-wicket for four. She finishes with a single to hold on to the strike.
8th over: Australia 24-2 (Perry 1, Mooney 10)
Some luck for Perry at the start of this over with a very high edge that lands safely at square leg and she gets off strike with a single. Mooney sends the next ball past fine leg for four, she’s looking like she’s settling into this innings a little bit now. Singh gives away another wide, then tightens up her line and has Mooney playing defensively before another very loose wide. Mooney can’t pick up a run from the last either.
7th over: Australia 17-2 (Perry 0, Mooney 6)
Perry gets her first delivery - she didn’t bat at all in the first game, so she will be relishing the opportunity. She gets herself off strike with a leg bye and then Mooney plays herself into the game, coming down the pitch and judging the length perfectly, driving it through the covers for four. The next ball is a wide and then Goswami readjusts her line and Mooney can’t get bat on it.
6th over: Australia 11-2 (Perry 0, Mooney 2)
India are really keeping the pressure on - not just with their bowling, but with constant appeals to shake the Australian pair before they settle into their innings. Mooney is nearly gone on the fourth ball of the over, pulling straight to the fielder at square leg, but it’s dropped by Mandhana. Lanning is gone straight after that and Singh finishes the over with a dot.
WICKET! Lanning c Gayakwad b Singh 6, Australia 11-2
The pressure keeps building and Lanning gets caught going for a big pull shot, which she edges to fine leg. It’s an athletic catch from Gaykwad, who has recently recovered from a PCL rupture.
5th over: Australia 8-1 (Lanning 5, Mooney 1)
Mooney sneaks through for a run in desperation on the second ball and Lanning plays and misses again, before driving straight to cover. Finally she is able to open up on the fourth and drives it nicely past deep cover for a much-needed boundary. Goswami recovers to finish the over with two dot balls.
4th over: Australia 2-1 (Lanning 1, Mooney 0)
Singh returns and why wouldn’t she after her first over? It’s more of the same from her, perfect length ball after perfect length ball. On the fourth ball of the over, she gets very close to getting Lanning, but the ball just skims past Lanning’s bat and then the stumps. There’s a huge shout for LBW from the final ball of the over, but the umpire isn’t interested. It’s a very uncharacteristic performance from the Australian captain so far - just the one run from 15 balls.
3rd over: Australia 2-1 (Lanning 1, Mooney 0)
Mooney faces her first delivery to start the third over and is nearly gone first ball in a very similar fashion to her opening partner! The ball just misses the stumps and Mooney plays and misses. It takes until the third ball of the over for Mooney to get bat on ball, but it’s not convincing - a desperate looking defence of her stumps. The Indian bowlers are on fire - Goswami’s wide late in the over is a rare blip and she follows it up with another perfect ball.
2nd over: Australia 1-1 (Lanning 1, Mooney 0)
Meghna Singh is opening from the other end and Lanning is incredibly lucky to get away with a leave from the first ball of the over! She doesn’t gamble with that again and plays a defensive shot on the second. Singh’s line and length is impeccable and Lanning doesn’t appear to have the answers at this stage. Singh is full of confidence and is dropping the ball in the perfect spot each time, finishing with a rare maiden to the Australian captain.
1st over: Australia 1-1 (Lanning 1, Mooney 0)
Goswami is getting some nice shape early and strikes very early, finding her length and getting Healy for a duck on just the third ball. Her first couple of balls at Lanning are similarly spot on and Lanning takes a good look at the bowling, not taking too many chances. She picks up a run with an outside edge off the final ball of the over.
WICKET! Healy b Goswami 0, Australia 0-1
Wow! After a couple of nice looking balls, Goswami goes straight through Healy with a beautiful length ball. This isn’t the start the Australians were after.
As always, a stellar job from Geoff Lemon to guide us through India’s innings. It’s certainly set things up for an exciting finish to the game. As Geoff noted, this will be the highest total Australia has had to chase during their winning streak, so it’s no easy task. Fortunately for Australia, they have a very deep batting line up. They have the opportunity to go hard and lose a couple of wickets and still have plenty of batting in the sheds. Darlington, who is listed as an all-rounder, is batting at 10, meaning everyone but Brown at 11 has the ability to turn the game on its head.
The big adjustment will be batting under lights and seeing what the ball is going to do. So they will require a bit of caution early on while they assess the situation before opening up a little later in the innings. They won’t want to leave their run too late either - it will be a bit of a balancing act. But if anyone can pull off a chase like this, it’s the Australian team. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!
As for Australia, winning this would not just require the biggest chase (by 20 runs) in their 25-match winning streak, it would be the second-biggest chase that they’ve ever pulled off. Their record is 289.
They did stroll a chase of 225 the other day, and could have made a much higher score, but batting under lights might get tricky, and there will be far more pressure if an early wicket or two should fall.
Hasn’t been a great day for them all round. Perry and Brown went at more than 6 per over. Darlington got smashed. There were 31 extras. Molineux was the standout, 2 for 28 from eight overs, while McGrath was excellent too with 3 for 45 from nine.
If they can pull this one out, they’ll really deserve it. Or will India break a world record Australian streak, like the Indian men did in the Kolkata Test of 2001?
I’m off to watch the rest on my own. Your company from here will be the always alliterative Megan Maurice.
Australia must chase 275 to win
It is onnnnn. That’s a good day for India. Sometimes things fall your way, and sometimes a sequence of things does, and India had most of the luck today when it came to the close calls. They compounded that by playing really well between times.
Mandhana and Verma started it off with an opening stand of 74 in 11 overs. That gave India enough impetus to survive a slow-down up to the halfway mark, and the loss of three wickets. Then Ghosh started going, and kept going, even after Mandhana got out. Deepti did her bit to make sure things got to the final few overs, where Vastrakar and Goswami iced the cake nicely.
Raj did not feature heavily and India didn’t need her, which is when you know they’re having a good day.
WICKET! Vastrakar b Molineux 29, India 274-7
50th over: India 274-7 (Goswami 28) Molineux to bowl the last over, and gets away with a big full toss to start. Vastrakar premeditates a charge, and so she reaches the ball when it’s too high to do anything with, and only hits it back to the bowler. Next ball she goes down the ground, and this time they do take the second run to the long off. Goswami responds, and she really thinks she’s run out, she’s preparing to leave the field as the third umpire takes a look, but her bat-slide got home just before Molineux took the bails.
Perhaps they should have left Goswami on strike. Vastrakar misses the fifth ball, aiming over midwicket, then charges the last of the innings and again misses a full toss, but this one hits the stumps. Great closing by Molineux, four runs from the final over.
49th over: India 270-6 (Vastrakar 26, Goswami 27) Haha, Goswami wants strike. Vastrakar nails Darlington down the ground but the fielder down there saves it. There should be two runs, but Goswami would be coming to the danger end and she’s not the fastest. So she says know, then belts Darlington off a length over mid off for four. A leg bye, a single, then Goswami goes again, over cover, though the ball plugs and keeps her to two. Last of the over, huge slice, same result! Again it stops, this time down towards deep third. There’s that big over, worth 11, and the economy expert Darlington has gone for 36 from four overs today. That would be a poor day in 20-over cricket, let alone 50.
48th over: India 259-6 (Vastrakar 24, Goswami 19) Molineux back on to bowl, and Goswami is trying to put the left-arm spinner into the Sea of Tranquillity. Misses out, largely, picking up two singles, Vastrakar three. One more big over would ice this innings nicely.
47th over: India 254-6 (Vastrakar 21, Goswami 17) Hannah Darlington at the other end. Her superpower is restricting runs, but she went for 20 from two overs and got dragged earlier today. Pressure on. And she starts with a leg-side wide to Vastrakar. Then a single to midwicket. Goswami will swing, count on it. She does, almost falls over with the pull shot, but misses the cutter completely. Picks the next slower ball, goes Goswami, and heaves it into the deep for two. Hits even harder the next ball, and flat, just t-balling it off its length, but on the bounce to Gardner at deep mid. Vastrakar is a little more nuanced, flicking softly in the hope of taking two, but the fielding off the deep square leg rope is good.
46th over: India 248-6 (Vastrakar 19, Goswami 14) Ellyse Perry back at the death. Interesting, rarely bowls at this stage of the innings, hasn’t for years. But she’s only bowled four overs today so she’s fresh and perhaps Lanning thinks it’s a chance to challenge her champ. Starts well, one run from her first three balls, but Vastrakar nails a cover drive fourth ball, and Lanning misfields at cover to let it through to the rope. Short and pulled for one by Vastrakar, down through mid on, then diametrically opposite for Goswami who pulls off the top edge over the keeper for four!
45th over: India 238-6 (Vastrakar 14, Goswami 9) Looking for the big hits, Goswami. Chips over midwicket for one. Swings herself off her feet while missing a length ball. Then McGrath clever bowls a bouncer that the tall Indian bowler can’t uppercut. Nails the next one though! Not so short, and she clatters it flat-batted over cover and hits the gap for four.
44th over: India 231-6 (Vastrakar 13, Goswami 3) Vastrakar is so fast between the wickets! She flashes Carey over backward point to end the over and demands a second run from Goswami. Vastrakar running to the danger end, and just makes it on the replay, even without a dive.
43rd over: India 226-6 (Vastrakar 10, Goswami 1) Almost a fourth for McGrath, as Vastrakar slices just wide of short third, getting back for a second run, after Goswami got off strike by playing a leaping short ball nicely, riding the bounce to drop it behind point. There is some bounce in this surface alright.
WICKET! Deepti c Perry b McGrath 23, India 221-6
Finally Deepti decides to go, and it brings her undone! She gets a big piece of that too, really hits it hard from a straight line out over midwicket. But the field is big, and Perry is camped right back on the rope. She takes the catch coming down from high in the sky. McGrath’s third.
42nd over: India 221-5 (Deepti 23, Vastrakar 7) Carey carries on, pulled away by Deepti on the bounce to deep backward square leg. Another streaky shot, and only one run results.
41st over: India 217-5 (Deepti 21, Vastrakar 5) The ball is still swinging for McGrath, away from the right-hander and then Vastrakar is almost done in by the delivery that angles back in. Another quiet over, Australia will be delighted with these. The Indians are hamstrung; they can’t afford to lose a wicket, because then they will be into the tail. So they’re reluctant to go after the bowling.
40th over: India 213-5 (Deepti 19, Vastrakar 3) Nicola Carey is back. She has bowled five very economical overs, conceding 13 runs. She bowls seam-up, but she is very short, so the ball arrives at a low angle and can skid through. Hard to get under. She stays true to form in her sixth over, conceding only three singles and a wide.
We are into the last 10.
39th over: India 209-5 (Deepti 17, Vastrakar 2) Darcie Brown has finished her day’s work with 10 overs, 1 for 63. A few singles to follow. With all of the boundaries and wickets recently, it feels like the last five overs of a match. It’s only the 39th!
38th over: India 205-5 (Deepti 15, Vastrakar 1) What happens from here? Australia could still roll them for 220 or so, or India could push on. Deepti will need to hit stride. Pooja Vastrakar can bat, but had a poor match to start this series. Deepti scores a rare three from a pull shot, taking on Brown’s pace. But she can’t handle it to end the over, and gets sconed by another short ball. Misses the shot and gets a glancing blow high on the lid. Medical check, all clear.
WICKET! Ghosh b McGrath 44, India 199-5
37th over: India 199-5 (Deepti 11) Another busy over. It starts with Deepti on strike, denying Ghosh while she’s up and running, but there’s some benefit for India when McGrath bowls on the left-hander’s leg stump and she glances four. Finally she does turn the strike over, and Ghosh hasn’t cooled down. Bashed down the ground for four! A cross-bat smash that goes just to the on side of straight, one bounce and over. But the last ball of the over, Ghosh is done in the air. She steps leg side, but McGrath angles the ball at her, then swings it away, making it straighten down the line and hit leg stump. Excellent bowling, and an excellent batting contribution comes to an end.
36th over: India 190-4 (Ghosh 40, Deepti 6) Up and over from Deepti! Anticipated Brown’s length, used Brown’s pace, and the uppercut vanishes for four. Was able to do that with a touch of width. Can’t handle the one at her body though: she gloves it over her own head, it’s nearly caught by Healy running forward, then Deepti is nearly run out when Healy kicks at the stumps. Fifth ball of the over, similar situation, but this time the ball carries over Healy! Picked up by the wind, perhaps, off the bat as Deepti looks to go leg side and instead sends it straight up. Several strokes of luck.
35th over: India 185-4 (Ghosh 40, Deepti 1) McGrath continuing, Deepti off the mark by flicking off her ankle through square leg. McGrath bumps Ghosh, who fends away where a slip cordon would be in the longer form, but here it just earns her a run. Deepti can’t turn over the strike from the next three balls though. Only gets a leg bye to close the over, which means she keeps the strike.
34th over: India 182-4 (Ghosh 39, Deepti 0) Whomp! Doesn’t matter that it’s Darcie Brown, the fastest bowler on the field: Ghosh drives her off a length down the ground and lands it just short of six. Top shot. Brown, in traditional style, responds with a couple of bouncers. Ghosh swings at the first and misses, bails out of the second. But as soon as Brown targets the stumps again, Ghosh clears that front foot and goes one better, for six! Same shot, even better contact, like snapping a stick of celery into the stump mic.
33rd over: India 172-4 (Ghosh 29, Deepti 0) Left-hander, left-hander, left-hander. Bhatia to Mandhana to Deepti Sharma, next in. Flirting with McGrath outside off. Patting away straight ones. Five dots to start her day at the crease.
WICKET! Mandhana c Mooney b McGrath 86, India 171-4
There is that wicket! Just a half-hearted shot from Mandhana. She gets width from McGrath, drives at it but really just a push-drive. It loops rather than flies square, and Mooney at backward point has time to adjust, dip with the ball, and take the catch just about the turf.
32nd over: India 171-3 (Mandhana 86, Ghosh 29) And again! Molineux the bowler this time, and Mandhana tries a lofted drive over mid on but gets a thick edge through deep third. Brown puts in a big chase and dive to keep the scoring to three. India building nicely but one wicket will change a lot.
31st over: India 166-3 (Mandhana 82, Ghosh 28) India profiting from mistakes today, as Mandhana nicks McGrath but has it fly past Healy for four.
30th over: India 159-3 (Mandhana 76, Ghosh 27) Molineux nearly has the breakthrough after drinks. Draws the error as Ghosh edges a big shot over the infield on the off side, but it falls safe.
29th over: India 157-3 (Mandhana 75, Ghosh 26) A first look at Tahlia McGrath for the day. Mandhana respectfully defends the first ball with an immaculate straight bat. Second ball, she walks at the bowler and smashes her over cover for four. Checked the storehouse for respect, and she was fresh out. Drinks.
28th over: India 151-3 (Mandhana 70, Ghosh 25) Wareham is on the sideline now with her thigh heavily strapped. No leg spin option as this partnership reaches 50 runs. Gardner will continue with off spin. Bowls short to Ghosh who pulls a single. Mandhana follows suit to the same side of the ground, cover point for the left-hander. They go on in the same vein, a single from each ball of the over.
27th over: India 145-3 (Mandhana 67, Ghosh 22) Mandhana steps out to Darlington to drive, looking to shift the length, but can’t beat cover. Then Darlington, perhaps anticipating that leg-side movement from the batter, tries to bowl that line. Loses her angle completely and swings it down leg for five wides! Going further away from Healy as it passes. Then gets her line back, and Mandhana drives at cover, has the bat twist in her hand, and slices it away through backward point for four. Two fielders in the ring there and it splits them perfectly.
A great over for India. Two more runs as Mandhana pulls into the gap at deep square. And a couple more singles to follow. Thanks for the 13 runs.
26th over: India 132-3 (Mandhana 60, Ghosh 21) Four runs from Gardner’s over, India comfortable as they move into the second half of the innings. A partnership of 37 at nearly a run a ball is almost entirely Ghosh’s doing.
25th over: India 128-3 (Mandhana 58, Ghosh 19) Hannah Darlington on to bowl. She’s a gentle-paced seamer, sometimes a bit of swing, but she’s so hard to get away because she lands a yorker really well, mixes up her pace well, and rarely gives a length that can be hit with power. The premier death bowler in the Big Bash, now into the Australian team. And she does that job, conceding only singles, aside from a genuine nick from Ghosh’s bat to an outswinger that races fine for four.
24th over: India 121-3 (Mandhana 57, Ghosh 13) Richa Ghosh is exactly what India need at the moment. Busy, looking for opportunities. Pulls Gardner really nicely but it’s well saved on the rope at deep backward, keeping Ghosh to two. Another run from a punch into a gap at cover.
What has happened to Mandhana though? She got to 41 in nine overs. She’s added 16 in 15 overs since.
23rd over: India 117-3 (Mandhana 57, Ghosh 10) Healy can’t take Carey again, giving up another bye. Ghosh is better able to score off the skiddy seamer than anyone else today, picking up a couple of twos either side of the wicket.
22nd over: India 107-3 (Mandhana 57, Ghosh 6) Richa Ghosh is handling the bounce well, playing Brown away to deep third on a couple of occasions. Then when she gets a straighter ball she pulls square, and some good running at the start puts her in a position to push for two.
21st over: India 107-3 (Mandhana 55, Ghosh 2) Carey sticking to her plan. That angle across Mandhana is working just as well as it did to Bhatia. She loses her line on one occasion, pulled through fine leg to the rope, but aside from that she has the batter fishing outside off stump without catching anything. Healy can’t catch one either, and misses a ball swinging away from her to concede four byes.
20th over: India 98-3 (Mandhana 51, Ghosh 2) India really surrendering the initiative now, third wicket down. Richa Ghosh the next batter. Played so well the other day, late in the innings, but now has a different job with 30 overs to go. She gets away with two runs fended to fine leg from another shortish Brown delivery. They just need to keep the scoring going, it doesn’t need to be dashing.
WICKET! Bhatia c Mooney b Brown 3, India 95-3
The pressure tells. Brown bowls short, it doesn’t get up very high but Bhatia launches into a pull shot, and just skews it away to midwicket for an easy catch.
19th over: India 94-2 (Mandhana 50, Bhatia 3) No run from the Carey over to Bhatia. All angled across the left-hander, a couple of misses, a couple of miscues, and Australia are turning the screws.
Half century! Mandhana 50 from 56 balls
18th over: India 94-2 (Mandhana 50, Bhatia 3) Darcie Brown comes back for another bowl. The milestone comes up with a pull shot away for one. Still. In the last five overs Mandhana has faced 10 balls and scored 4 runs. She’s all but come to a halt.
17th over: India 91-2 (Mandhana 49, Bhatia 0) Two left-handers now, with Yastika Bhatia to the middle. She gets going with a nice punch behind square that beats backward point. Mandhana has to go big now, but she’s really been slowed down since Verma got out.
WICKET! Raj run out (Lanning) 8, India 88-2
That’s ordinary. Mandhana forces Carey off the back foot into the covers, and Lanning dives across to save. Both batters are watching the ball. Mandhana takes a few steps down with the shot, as you do. Raj seems to think that Lanning has fumbled the ball away from herself, and starts running down the wicket. At the same moment, Mandhana has seen that Lanning hasn’t fumbled and is turning back. I didn’t hear any calling there, they were just making assumptions. And made different ones.
16th over: India 88-1 (Mandhana 48, Raj 8) Molineux almost sneaks one through Raj like she did to Verma. Gets some bat on it at the last instant, and they steal a single. Mandhana goes for a cut shot but is beaten by the bounce. It’s called a wide. Really? Didn’t seem all that wide outside the off stump, she just missed it. She drives the next ball through point, but the sweeper there prevents a boundary.
Georgia Wareham is off the field, by the way. The leg-spinner might have hurt a quad muscle while chasing a ball. That will necessitate a bowling rejig if she doesn’t come back, though Australia have plenty of options.
15th over: India 85-1 (Mandhana 47, Raj 7) Nicola Carey for her first bowl, and Mandhana flicks her way to backward square leg for a single, before Mithali takes a longer look at the bowling before finding a run through cover.
14th over: India 83-1 (Mandhana 46, Raj 6) Lovely shot from Raj: seeing Molineux drop short, she waits for it to turn away and then produces a delicate late cut. More nudge than shot, and merely influences the ball away to the deep third boundary.
13th over: India 77-1 (Mandhana 45, Raj 2) Classic Mithali stuff, defending and nudging away through most of an over against Gardner before taking a run.
12th over: India 75-1 (Mandhana 45, Raj 1) Mithali Raj comes out at number three, instead of Yastika Bhatia who was listed there on the team sheet. Probably a good move from India to give Raj more time to play through the innings, with more free-scoring players at the other end.
WICKET! Verma b Molineux 22, India 74-1
Chopped on! Verma caught in two minds as Molineux floats the ball up full. Verma tries to play a little dab shot away for a run or two, but the line is too tight on the stumps, and she edges it onto them. Has only played a couple of shots in anger, unlike her usual style, and is out playing a little one rather than a biggie.
11th over: India 74-0 (Mandhana 45, Verma 22) Gardner will continue despite 10 runs from a first over. Quickly concedes four more early in her second, as Verma pulls her away through fine leg. That ball was turning way down the leg side and is easily helped away. Two more runs follow in singles.
10th over: India 68-0 (Mandhana 44, Verma 17) Make that double spin in the powerplay! Sophie Molineux with her left-arm ortho to complement Gardner’s off-breaks. A little more chill, with just three from the over. Mandhana is outpacing her young brash opening partner significantly.
9th over: India 65-0 (Mandhana 41, Verma 17) Spin in the powerplay for Australia, interesting move with Ashleigh Gardner thrown the ball. Mandhana sweeps hard for four, flat through square leg, foot outside the line of off. Classic left-handed batting. Verma finishes the over with a sweep of her own, though this is more muscular and aerial going behind square rather than through it.
A great start for India now.
8th over: India 55-0 (Mandhana 36, Verma 13) Well, if they’ve packed the field behind point, then Mandhana will just cut in front of point! Twice in a row Darcie Brown drops short, and Mandhana smashes at her away well in front of square. But when Browns creeps that length up a bit, Mandhana tries to play on the up, and miscues in the air through cover, Mooney diving at point but nowhere near it. A third boundary. And a fourth powerful off-side shot from the seventh ball after a wide, but by this point Australia have a cover sweeper in the deep and Darlington keeps the scoring to two.
7th over: India 40-0 (Mandhana 22, Verma 13) Perry to continue bowling to Mandhana. Beats her outside edge with a good one. Then pitches up and swings it again, but the line is starting on leg stump, and is clipped away for two. When Perry corrects the line, she beats the edge again as Mandhana drives. Australia’s field is really well set for Mandhana. The player out for the pull shot has saved a number of boundaries, and the field behind point is packed for her cut shot. She flays Perry over backward point, but it’s a risky shot, and only yields one run with a deep third in place.
6th over: India 37-0 (Mandhana 19, Verma 13) Shafali is swinging from the hip now against Brown. Moving around the crease. Hauls a shot over midwicket for four, then backs away so far that she misses a heave that was vaguely aimed towards deep third.
5th over: India 32-0 (Mandhana 18, Verma 9) Doesn’t mind width, Verma, and she flays away at Perry way outside off stump, toe-ending it over cover for two. The next ball though she’s hit! Perry drops short but it doesn’t get huge bounce, and Verma ducks into it, clipped off the back of the helmet through deep third for four extras. After some attention, Verma bails out of her next ball, pulling away. When she finally faces up again, Perry bowls her a full toss on the pads that she can pat behind square to get off strike. Then wide down leg to the left-hander, and short to Mandhana who cracks a pull shot again, this time finding deep square leg for one. Perry really struggling to land them.
4th over: India 23-0 (Mandhana 17, Verma 6) Both players happy to be watchful against Brown, given her wickets the other day. Verma takes a few balls to get off strike, then Mandhana ducks under the bouncer.
3rd over: India 22-0 (Mandhana 17, Verma 5) The boundaries keep coming! Perry bowls too full, too often. Verma through cover from the first ball of the over, then Mandhana driving a low full toss through point from the last ball.
2nd over: India 13-0 (Mandhana 13, Verma 0) Better contact from Mandhana when Darcie Brown drops short, a crisp cut shot to the point boundary. Then to end the over Brown strays down leg and Mandhana glances for four. She has all the runs so far.
1st over: India 5-0 (Mandhana 5, Verma 0) Mandhana goes from ball one! Perry bowls short three times in a row, and Mandhana goes pull, back-foot force, pull. Doesn’t nail any of them, but two, two, one, is a decent start for runs. Shafali Verma gets her first ball fuller, and there’s swing for Perry when she pitches up. Verma fiddles into the cordon, then gets beaten.
One change each. Off-spin all-rounder Sneh Rana makes way for left-armer Gayakwad. Rachael Haynes took a knock in the nets, but that won’t be enough for opener Georgia Redmayne to get a debut. Instead Beth Mooney comes up the order while seaming all-rounder Nicola Carey comes into the middle.
Mithali Raj *
Richa Ghosh +
Alyssa Healy +
Meg Lanning *
Australia win the toss and will bowl first
Same configuration, choosing to chase. Putting the pressure straight back on India’s batting. Setting a target has been a much weaker suit for India than chasing one in recent years.
Game two! The first of these Australia-India contests was clinical, on the part of the home team. They squeezed India in the run-compiling stage, making the Indians rely as so often on the sedate scoring pace of Mithali Raj to hold the show together. A sub-par 225 was the result on a track that only got better for batting. Accordingly, Australia cruised the chase one wicket down. And that was Healy basically getting herself out for 77 after putting the result almost beyond doubt. Ouch.
So, what can India do? Apparently they’ve been working on strike rotation, which might have been handy to work on a while ago. But really they need one of their fast-scoring openers, Shefali Verma or Smriti Mandhana, to go big from the top. Harmanpreet Kaur is still missing with a hand injury, so leaving everything to Raj again will get the same result.