We have been spoiled by consecutive final over finishes. The first went Australia’s way, narrowly, the second to India in a display of great resilience.
An Indian victory looked very unlikely at the halfway mark after Australia racked up 264/9 on the back of one of the more appalling fielding displays you could ever witness. Gardner and Mooney both passed 50, while McGrath cracked a rapid 47 at the death. India seemed dispirited and fractious. Victory seemed a long way off.
But their reply began strongly. Verma and Mandhana put on 59 for the opening wicket before Verma was joined in a partnership of 101 with Bhatia. At this stage India were cruising, but some superb catching in the field, and diligent seam bowling from Sutherland and Campbell, brought the game to a thrilling conclusion.
First Sharma, then Rana, looked to have taken control for India, but both fell at the death to leave a tantalising final over that Goswami interrupted abruptly with a mighty straight blow.
As well as the disappointment of seeing their long unbeaten run come to an end Australia will also be sweating on the fitness of Haynes and Mooney, who both left the field with injuries during the second innings, as well as Molineux, who required her face bandaging after being struck on the mouth fielding a throw at the non-striker’s end. On top of that, Perry still looks short of form and fitness on her return to the international scene.
Thank you for joining us today. We’ll be back to cover the entirety of the day-night Test from the Gold Coast between these sides, starting Thursday. See you then.
Australia’s record ODI winning streak ends at 26. And it comes at the end of a superb Indian run chase. What drama this series has delivered, and now we have a Test to look forward to beginning on Thursday.
INDIA WIN BY 2 WICKETS!
49.3 over: India 266-8 (Goswami 8, Singh 2) Goswami stands tall at the crease and lofts a majestic straight drive that bounces just inside the rope near the sightscreen. Incredible finish.
49.2 over: India 262-8 (Goswami 4, Singh 2) Single. Another swipe, this time just wide enough of the ring field to skip a single.
49.1 over: India 261-8 (Goswami 4, Singh 1) Molineux to bowl the final over. A swipe. Good fielding at midwicket. Dot ball.
49th over: India 261-8 (Goswami 4, Singh 1) Another Ghoswami single. What has Meghna Singh got? That’ll do, a lofted drive to get off the mark.
Four off six required. Anyone’s.
WICKET! Rana c sub (Darlington) b Carey 30 (India 259-8)
Short delivery, whipped to the on-side, but it comes off a thick top edge and Hannah Darlington runs in from the fine-leg boundary to take a low diving catch. Clutch fielding again from Australia! Desperate for Rana who has guided her side to the brink of victory, but she won’t be around to finish the job.
48.3 over: India 259-7 (Rana 30, Goswami 3) Dot ball.
48.2 over: India 259-7 (Rana 30, Goswami 3) Goswami gets off strike with a nice drive down the ground.
48.1 over: India 258-7 (Rana 30, Goswami 2) Back to Nicola Carey. Sneh Rana on strike. Full toss on middle whipped behind square for a single. Australia got away with one there.
48th over: India 257-7 (Rana 29, Goswami 2) Goswami again gets herself off strike early, allowing Rana to take control of India’s destiny. Molineux keeps her honest for a couple of deliveries though, before Goswami scampers through for a quick single. Molineux, bandages and all, closes the over out well. Just two from the over.
8 off 12 required. Advantage India.
47th over: India 255-7 (Rana 28, Goswami 1) Brilliant from Rana. After Jhulan Goswami gets to the non-striker’s end, Sneh Rana moves well outside off and flips a beautiful four over short fine-leg. It’s a shot that brings the required run-rate below a run-a-ball. And that rate looks very manageable a delivery later when she steps to leg and ramps McGrath over the cordon and down to the third fence. Three in a row! This time she stands her ground and drives straight over mid-on. Superb proactive batting. An over that has changed the complexion of this match. Incredible clutch batting from Rana.
10 off 18 required. Advantage India.
WICKET! Sharma c Carey b McGrath 31 (India 241-7)
Four overs left and Tahlia McGrath is thrown the ball for the first time since the tenth over. She begins with a ripper that beats the outside edge, then she gets the massive wicket of Deepti Sharma! It’s a fierce square drive, but it’s straight to Carey at point, and this time she holds on.
46th over: India 241-6 (Sharma 30, Rana 17) Rana squeezes a square drive between point and gully to keep India up with the run-rate. Lots of forceful batting and hard running keeps the scoreboard ticking over, but the over ends with Carey finding a leading edge and pouching a simple return catch. BUT IT’S OVERTURNED FOR OVERSTEPPING by the third umpire and Rana not only survives but earns a single from a free-hit.
24 from 24 the equation.
45th over: India 232-6 (Sharma 28, Rana 11) Sophie Molineux, bandaged like a Scooby Do Mummy, returns for some vital death overs. She begins with a long hop that Sharma spanks through midwicket that is four as soon as it leaves the bat - but Perry is having none of it, flying full-length on the boundary to save a couple. A single rotates the strike then Rana is dropped! That was a c&b opportunity driven straight back at Molineux who can only parry the chance in front of her bandaged face. THEN ANOTHER DROP! Carey this time shells a swipe from Rana that’s straight at her - but the sun played havoc with her vision and the ball goes to ground.
33 off 30 required.
44th over: India 227-6 (Sharma 24, Rana 10) Good over for India. Carey’s on the mark but Sharma is working the ball comfortably around the ground and Rana profits from a thick outside edge that flies down to third for a boundary.
India keep chancing their arm between the wickets - and getting away with it, but it’s risky running that you sense will inevitably bring about someone’s downfall.
43rd over: India 219-6 (Sharma 21, Rana 5) Gardner replaces chief destroyer Sutherland and India hit their required rate of six. It’s all a bit skittish though out in the middle with India desperate for quick singles without the clearest calling. Sharma looks like she now has her eye in, and the outcome may well rest on her shoulders.
42nd over: India 213-6 (Sharma 17, Rana 3) Carey is back into the attack and she is right on the money, pinning both Indians to the crease and conceding only three singles.
41st over: India 210-6 (Sharma 15, Rana 2) Sutherland welcomes Sneh Rana to the crease with a short ball that’s too fast for the In dian No 8 and flies off the top edge for two. She follows that up with a testing yorker that is dug out.
Molineux is back on the field, with some serious bandaging around her mouth.
WICKET! Raj b Sutherland 16 (India 208-6)
Sharma is taking control of this run chase. After a brace of boundaries in the previous over she takes on Sutherland first ball and clubs a four through long-on.
Sutherland exacts her revenge, and then some! After the strike is rotated Raj takes an ugly swipe at the wrong ball and a quick length delivery clips the top of middle. Sutherland has three, India have a mountain to climb.
40th over: India 203-5 (Raj 16, Sharma 10) A rare Indian boundary with Sharma picking up Campbell’s length early and slapping her through midwicket. And another! A carbon copy two balls later and India are fighting back. 62 off 60 required.
Lanning now has the headache of replacing Molineux’s death overs. Molineux now has a headache.
39th over: India 194-5 (Raj 16, Sharma 1) The arrival of Deepti Sharma means a left-right combination again, which leads immediately to a legside wide. Extras up to 32. Sutherland completes her sixth over with figures of 23/2.
But the action is once again shaded by an Australian injury! This time it’s Sophie Molineux in the wars after a throw from the boundary to the non-striker’s end reared up and burst through the spinner’s hands and into her face. She has left the field wounded and probably in need of a stitch or two to her mouth. This has not been ideal Test preparation with Mooney and Haynes already going down.
WICKET! Vastrakar b Sutherland 3 (India 192-5)
There’s that pressure telling. Sutherland begins her sixth over with a full straight delivery that Vastrakar awkwardly tries to force to leg. No timing, head up, stumps clattered. India are painting themselves into a corner.
38th over: India 192-4 (Raj 16, Vastrakar 3) Gifts done come much giftier and gift-wrapped than a leg-stump full-toss with the field up, but that’s what Campbell delivers to Raj, releasing the pressure that was starting to look irresistible. It’s still only par for India, who are struggling to rotate the strike.
37th over: India 186-4 (Raj 10, Vastrakar 3) Sutherland keeps the pressure on, and the required run-rate has now crept over a run-a-ball for the first time.
36th over: India 183-4 (Raj 8, Vastrakar 2) Another good Campbell over goes for just two singles. India are in quicksand and storing up problems for the death overs.
35th over: India 181-4 (Raj 7, Vastrakar 1) Sutherland concedes only a single. Australia have wrestled the upper hand in Mackay.
34th over: India 180-4 (Raj 7, Vastrakar 0) A well-earned debut ODI wicket for Stella Campbell, and she has Molly Strano to thank for it. It seems pretty clear that if Australia go on to win this match it will be the disparity in fielding as much as anything that will be the determining factor.
WICKET! Bhatia c sub (Strano) b Campbell 64 (India 180-4)
After 12 deliveries of nothing much Raj decides to go over mid-on, and she only just clears Sutherland’s leap. It does bring her four though, and gets her vital innings into motion. Bhatia shows her skipper how it’s done, swivelling with superb timing to pull Campbell for a crisp boundary.
But she’s gone next ball! That feels like a decisive moment in this contest. Bhatia was flying, but she tried to go big again on the on-side, but on this occasion can only get a thick edge that flies down to fine-leg where Molly Strano runs in, dives forward, and pouches a superb momentum-changing catch. Great bowling too, Campbell shifting from over to around the wicket but landing the ball in near identical places, provoking the error.
33rd over: India 171-3 (Bhatia 60, Raj 2) Bhatia is on strike for the start of Sutherland’s over, and she shows great creativity with a flick over her shoulder for two. A single brings Raj to the crease, and with that the field comes in to crowd out any run-scoring opportunities, and more dot-balls are eaten up before a single from the last ball. Raj is two from 11.
32nd over: India 166-3 (Bhatia 57, Raj 1) Lanning going for the throat with the recall of Campbell’s pace to the attack. The debutant begins with five dots to Raj, a famously slow starter, but even so, in this match situation it’s inviting pressure - especially when rotating the strike would allow the in-form Bhatia to control the pace of the game.
31st over: India 166-3 (Bhatia 57, Raj 1) A lot of pressure now on the shoulders of Mithali Raj, who has dropped herself down to No 5. A misfield allows her to get off the mark, and that brings Bhatia on strike, who steps to off and whips a back 0f a length delivery from Sutherland over square leg and away for four, beating Perry’s dive on the rope.
WICKET! Ghosh c Gardner b Sutherland 0 (India 161-3)
One brings two for Australia! Sutherland pitches the ball up and Ghosh leisurely flicks the ball straight Garnder’s safe hands at square-leg. Game on again in Mackay.
30th over: India 160-2 (Bhatia 51, Ghosh 0) Just the one run, and the wicket, from the Molineux over Australia desperately needed.
WICKET! Verma b Molineux 56 (India 160-2)
Huge wicket for Australia! Verma, who may have been tiring, aims a huge mow at a length Molineux delivery, plays all around it, and finds her off stump nudged backwards. Superb innings from India’s opener that has set her side up beautifully.
29th over: India 159-1 (Verma 56, Bhatia 51) Annabel Sutherland is into the attack belatedly for Australia, but the runs keep flowing for India, four of them from a delicate Verma glance for four to fine-leg.
More bad news for Australia. Their list of absentees now includes Beth Mooney. The Test XI could soon involve a late ring-around.
50 to Verma (86 balls) & 50 to Bhatia (56 balls)
28th over: India 153-1 (Verma 51, Bhatia 50) No pressure at all from the field on Verma on 49 so the Indian opener casually dabs a single to bring up her half-century. It’s a similar story for Bhatia who milks Molineux to reach her milestone. Two superb knocks that have put India firmly in control.
27th over: India 150-1 (Verma 49, Bhatia 49) Lanning knows she needs to make something happen, so she recalls McGrath. Bhatia responds superbly with a muscular thwack to the midwicket boundary. The bowler then leaks through the legside, and with Healy up to the stumps it’s the latest five-wide effort of a messy afternoon for Australia’s attack. 30 extras already, in just 27 overs!
26th over: India 139-1 (Verma 48, Bhatia 44) Bhatia gets away with one, trying to hit Molineux with the spin over cow corner, but she doesn’t get all of it and the ball grazes Darlington’s fingertips at wide mid-on, but the catch doesn’t stick and India enjoy an eight-run over.
25th over: India 131-1 (Verma 48, Bhatia 37) Verma is looking to assert herself now that her eye is in, but it’s leading to a couple of rash strokes. After surviving a drop off Molineux she is almost bowled around her legs by Carey. Bhatia is demonstrating more control, typified by a beautiful back cut for four. At the halfway mark of the run chase India are cruising.
24th over: India 123-1 (Verma 46, Bhatia 32) The scoreboard continues to tick over, helped along by a finely-swept four from Shafali Verma as she approaches 50. But the Indian opener almost doesn’t make it to her milestone, swiping Molineux across the line and offering a tough catch to the diving Sutherland at midwicket, but she can’t hold on and Verma survives.
23rd over: India 117-1 (Verma 41, Bhatia 31) The first Indian misstep for a while with Verma swiping across the line to Carey, missing, and fortunate the delivery whistles past off stump instead of clattering into it. Bhatia doesn’t dwell on the near miss, clubbing Carey off a length back down the ground for four. Australia need to make something happen here, it’s all very routine for India at the moment.
22nd over: India 110-1 (Verma 40, Bhatia 25) Shot! Verma only picks up two for it, but she deserves more for creaming Molineux through extra-cover with an elegant drive. The runs continue to flow for India and chances are hand to come by for Australia. We’re heading for another close finish.
21st over: India 105-1 (Verma 37, Bhatia 24) Nicola Carey is introduced for the first time today and she keeps things tight with her right-arm medium pace. There’s a sniff of a run out opportunity but Healy can’t hit the target with an ambitious flick.
20th over: India 101-1 (Verma 35, Bhatia 23) Unsurprisingly, Lanning returns to Molineux to assert some control, but Bhatia begins the spell with a thick-edge for four. A far more deliberate stroke to the same region earns her two more.
19th over: India 94-1 (Verma 35, Bhatia 16) India are in their groove now and Australia need to shake things up a bit. Verma nails a sweep, a forceful backfoot punch, and a lofted straight drive, while Bhatia unfurls a flowing shot through the covers. Gardner helpless that over to stem the flow of runs.
In even worse news for Australia, Rachael Haynes is out of the remainder of the game - and immediately in doubt for the Test - with a hamstring injury.
18th over: India 84-1 (Verma 28, Bhatia 13) I like Bhatia’s approach. She’s taking Australia on here, not recklessly, but she’s refusing to take a backward step. The pacy Campbell is slipping in a shorter ball or two every over and Bhatia is game for the challenge, pulling uppishly for a couple.
17th over: India 81-1 (Verma 27, Bhatia 11) Gardner’s battle with Bhatia is a good one. The Indian batter is keen to attack, but Gardner’s variations are challenging to line up. Eventually Bhatia gets plenty of wood to one and it takes a bobble on a neighbouring pitch that beats the field on its way to the rope. India building nicely.
16th over: India 77-1 (Verma 27, Bhatia 7) Campbell continues and she almost does Verma with a length delivery that barely bounces. India’s opener then ties herself into the shape of a pretzel in the process of missing an awkward flick to leg from well outside off stump. Five dots builds up the pressure but Verma releases it in an instance, clearing her front leg and slapping a full half-volley through long-off.
15th over: India 73-1 (Verma 23, Bhatia 7) Gardner continues after drinks and Bhatia gets to the pitch of the ball and lofts majestically over long-on for a one-bounce four. She is otherwise respectful of Gardner’s flight.
14th over: India 69-1 (Verma 23, Bhatia 3) Campbell’s radar wanders a little this over, but she does well to retain focus and end the spell strongly. Verma now has her eye in and she’s not averse to the pace of the ball coming onto the bat.
13th over: India 65-1 (Verma 22, Bhatia 2) Gardner backs up her excellent opening over with another tight set of six.
Well, as a Victorian in lockdown, I would say the blue sky, the crowds, and occasional cutaways to the glorious Queensland scenery.
12th over: India 64-1 (Verma 21, Bhatia 2) With the opening partnership broken Molineux is held back and replaced by debutant Stella Campbell. She has a beautiful fluid action and a strong shoulder, pushing 120kph on a good length. She beats Bhatia for pace, but India’s No 3 gets off the mark with a confident pull for two. Very promising debut over from Campbell.
11th over: India 60-1 (Verma 20, Bhatia 0) The introduction of spin has changed the complexion of this innings. Excellent opening overs from Molineux and Gardner. Pressure back on India to retain their focus.
WICKET! Mandhana c Sutherland b Gardner 22 (India 59-1)
It’s a double change, with Ash Gardner asked to bowl her right-arm spin around the wicket to Mandhana. She begins with a beauty that is cut fine just over the gloves of Healy and away for four. But Gardner soon exacts her revenge. India’s opener does get to the pitch for a lofted offside drive and a loopy thick edge clears the infield, only for Sutherland to make ground quickly and take a brilliant catch over her left shoulder. The difference in fielding quality between these sides could well be the difference today.
10th over: India 55-0 (Verma 19, Mandhana 18) First bowling change of the afternoon with Sophie Molineux’s left-arm spin called upon. She’s approaching from around the wicket, spinning the ball away from Verma, and is immediately in the action. A teasing maiden features a leading edge that drops just short of gully, and a fiercely struck drive that offered a challenging return catch with Molineux diving full length. A noticeable change in intensity that over.
9th over: India 55-0 (Verma 19, Mandhana 18) More wides against Perry’s figures with three legside swingers to the left-handed Mandhana, the second of which trundles all the way to the rope. The same portion of manila hemp is engaged soon afterwards with another legside delivery helped on its way with a fine glance. India have galloped into the box seat without breaking sweat.
8th over: India 44-0 (Verma 19, Mandhana 14) India have been largely untroubled in these early overs and Mandhana begins to cash in with a serene cover drive for four that races off the face of her bat.
7th over: India 37-0 (Verma 18, Mandhana 8) Better from Perry, whose radar is starting to settle down. She almost outfoxes Verma with an outswinging yorker that is close to being played on. Again Australia’s ground fielding backs up the tight bowling.
6th over: India 36-0 (Verma 18, Mandhana 7) McGrath continues her tight line and length to Verma, and she’s backed up by some excellent fielding. Five dots provoke a bold stroke in response and it’s a well-timed drive over extra-cover that’s hauled in for three.
5th over: India 34-0 (Verma 16, Mandhana 7) Perry is still struggling to control her line with the amount of swing she’s finding, and India’s left-right opening combination. Verma and Mandhana easing into their work nicely.
4th over: India 28-0 (Verma 15, Mandhana 4) McGrath with a tighter fourth-stump line and a length just short of good. She keeps India’s openers honest and almost benefits from a leading edge but the false shot doesn’t carry to the offside ring fielders.
3rd over: India 25-0 (Verma 14, Mandhana 2) Perry again finds extravagant movement in the air, but she begins the over bowling to the left-handed Mandhana, which means four wides down the legside. Inida pick up four more when the inswinger beats Verma between bat and pad but Healy is beaten by the low bounce and concedes some ugly byes. Another hooping wide continues Perry’s frustrating over, and that is magnified further when Verma slashes a very healthy edge that goes for another four, this time low between keeper and slip. Maybe a half-chance? Maybe not. India off to a flyer despite not very much coming off the middle of the bat.
2nd over: India 10-0 (Verma 6, Mandhana 1) Tahlia McGrath shares the new ball but she starts with a wayward line, conceding a couple of legside wides and a four through square-leg. India’s first boundary was courtesy of Verma flicking her wrists in front of her front pad with exquisite timing.
1st over: India 1-0 (Verma 0, Mandhana 0) Ellyse Perry opens the bowling for Australia and she’s quickly onto a good line and length with some nice shape away from the right-handed Shafali Verma. That shape got a bit too shapey out of the hand for a wide, but that’s the only run from an over that ends with a swish and miss outside off. Good start for Australia.
The teams are back out in the middle under a clear blue Mackay sky.
Thank you very much Geoff, a sterling effort after a late night toasting the Demons.
And thank you also to India for a fielding display so catastrophic it allowed my five-year-old to recognise that even elite athletes can’t catch everything, and they don’t sit and hug their knees and cry when they fail.
India must chase 266 to win
What a bizarre innings of cricket. India had Australia four wickets down with 87 on the board, bowling well despite some bad fielding even at that stage. Then the fielding took over. It was genuinely atrocious, so many boundaries given away by players who couldn’t lay a hand on the ball when they were right next to it.
Australia got back into it with 98 runs between Mooney and Gardner, setting themselves up for a late tilt. Gardner scored freely, Mooney did the reconstruction work as she did the other night, then McGrath came in and battered it. India let it happen, dropping ... how many catches? Half a dozen? And giving away runs by the score. Perhaps it can be a turning point. Perhaps they’ll feel chastened enough by this performance to really commit to getting it right.
Then equally bizarrely, India did pull it back just a touch in the last few overs. Could have been chasing 290, instead it’s 265. After the 50 overs they’ve just had though, getting charged up for the contest in the next 50 will be a very difficult ask.
That’s it for me. Jonathan Howcroft will be your companion from here.
50th over: Australia 265-9 (Carey 12, Campbell 0) On debut, Stella Campbell gets to come to the middle with her gear on, though she won’t get to face a ball. One left in the innings, and she gets to run to the striker’s end after Carey hits it to cover.
WICKET! Molineux run out (Goswami) 1, Australia 264-9
That wasn’t much of a throw from Gayakwad at long-on, well wide of the non-striker’s stumps, but the stretchy arms of Goswami are able to gather it wide of her body on one side, then go all the way to the stumps on the other side of her body to beat Molineux by an inch as the Australians attempt to run two from a Carey whack down the ground.
WICKET! Sutherland c Deepti b Goswami 0, Australia 261-8
Annabel Sutherland does her job, goes for it first ball, flicking nicely off her pads from Goswami but airborne to midwicket.
WICKET! McGrath c Ghosh b Vastrakar 47, Australia 260-7
49th over: Australia 260-7 (Carey 9) Slower ball from Vastrakar, giving McGrath no pace so she can only cut a single. Carey charges and slices high but into a gap behind point. That gives McGrath the chance to go back to the next slower ball, and muscle it through forward square leg for four. Real power in her strokeplay to the leg side especially. Gets a bouncer. Short third in the circle, so McGrath uppercuts over the top of her!
And more appalling fielding as the ball approaches the rope. Goswami is chasing it but slows up as the ball does the same, not willing or able to dive after it, and instead just tries to reach over it and tap it back. But misses. Four.
Finally, from the sixth ball, Vastrakar gets something for herself. Bangs in the bouncer, it digs into the pitch and sits up, McGrath backing away looking for room but it follows her, and her cross-bat swipe only yields a top edge. Miraculously, Ghosh holds onto it. It comes flat and she doesn’t have time to think.
48th over: Australia 249-6 (McGrath 38, Carey 7) Goswami fires in straight, McGrath advancing jams it into her pad and it stops dead. Carey is awake to where the ball has gone, and darts through to the danger end for a run, racing Goswami to the ball. Shafali Verma is having some five minutes. She backs up Goswami’s flick at the stumps, getting behind the keeper, but nearly knocks the ball into the spare helmet for five extras. Then she misfields Carey’s shot at backward point to get McGrath back on strike. Even when Vastrakar fields cleanly at deep backward square, her throw is way wide of the stumps and the Aussies run an easy two.
47th over: Australia 243-6 (McGrath 34, Carey 5) I’ll make a prediction here. India are going to get knocked over cheaply today. They’re rattled. They’re irritable. They’re arguing with one another. Because Carey slogs away, big top edge that is coming earthbound at midwicket inside the circle, and Verma trots in and drops yet another catch. Such a simple one, yet by now you’re expecting the drop more than the take.
Vastrakar is cost a third wicket. Strays down leg to Carey to follow, off the pad and guess what? Misfield from the keeper. Gives away a leg bye. Then McGrath reaches out and toe-ends a cut shot fine through deep third for four.
46th over: Australia 234-6 (McGrath 28, Carey 3) Nicola Carey tries to find her range, missing a reverse sweep before making contact with a flick. McGrath has no such trouble, advancing to drive Deepti for four through cover. Perfect contact with that ball, turning the bat inside out to get the angle. Then pulls two runs, via another misfield at backward square. Nine from the over.
45th over: Australia 225-6 (McGrath 21, Carey 1) Vastrakar has done a wonderful job today. Four runs from her previous over, five runs and the wicket from this one, after Australia were racing. Still on track for a big score, even if they just knock it around from here.
WICKET! Gardner c Raj b Vastrakar 67, Australia 224-6
The captain says, here’s how you hang onto one! At last. A surprise ball from Vastrakar, the wrist-spinning slower ball from the seamer. Doesn’t land it right, it’s going down the leg side, but Gardner tries to flip it fine and instead gets a top edge flat to short fine leg.
44th over: Australia 220-5 (Gardner 63, McGrath 21) McGrath drives to deep cover, and another failed dive gives up four. That was the first tough one where it would have been a good stop rather than a routine one, Rana diving but not timing it.
Next ball, a missed run out thanks to a poor throw from Vastrakar! Fields at cover as McGrath plays tip and run, but throws high and wide so the keeper has to move her hands too far to the stumps.
Next ball? DROPPED! The worst of the day by a mile. Gardner slog-sweeps Gayakward. Huge top edge, straight up the chimney. Ghosh trots out from behind the stumps, sets her gloves under it... and just doesn’t complete the catch.
What an awful, awful over of cricket from India. An awful 20 overs or so, but this one is the cherry on the sundae.
43rd over: Australia 212-5 (Gardner 61, McGrath 15) Pooja Vastrakar returns, and suddenly it’s a different game. A couple of singles. Gardner beaten utterly by a bouncer that zips through. Then skews away a shot towards long-on, and Gayakwad hangs back to field rather than coming in to try to catch. More weak fielding from this group, they need a truth and reconciliation commission with their coaches after today. Four from the over.
42nd over: Australia 208-5 (Gardner 59, McGrath 13) Sneh Rana bowls well, and again is let down. Gardner attacks the ball and gets a lot on it, but Rana got it to dip at the last second, meaning Gardner doesn’t get all of it. It goes down to long-on, but Shafali Verma is not back on the rope. She lets it go over her head because she’s out of position. You wonder why she’s even there in the first place, as a pretty poor fielder at this early stage of her career. But then the way everyone else has fielded today, Raj doesn’t have a lot of options.
McGrath is playing well, sharply calling Gardner through for a bye as the keeper fumbles a high-bouncing ball, then McGrath drives four behind point.
The last seven overs have conceded 13, 10, 12, 10, 8, 7, 13.
41st over: Australia 195-5 (Gardner 53, McGrath 7) Into the last ten, India relieved to take a wicket at this point which may help them slow things down. Or, the way Tahli McGrath can smash the ball, it may not. She attacks early, down the track to hit Gayakwad at cover, half stopped for one run. Gets the strike back. Two runs to deep midwicket, with another ordinary bit of fielding meaning there’s no pressure on the second, then a poor ball down leg that McGrath sweeps fine for four. India can’t keep things consistent.
WICKET! Mooney b Rana 52, Australia 185-5
40th over: Australia 185-5 (Gardner 51) Eventful over! Both players raise their half-century, Gardner going to 50 from 50 balls, Mooney 52 from 63. Gardner does it with a lofted six over long-off that just clears the fielder. Mooney does it by lifting a shot into the gap at midwicket for four.
Last ball of the over though, Rana does her in flight. Mooney shuffles forward a step to attack, then changes her mind and tries to sweep, but the ball dips and eludes her shot, cleaning up her stumps. A fine one-day series for Mooney comes to an end with the bat.
39th over: Australia 173-4 (Mooney 47, Gardner 44) Guess what? Boundary from a misfield. Deepti Sharma, swept by Gardner, Goswami at short fine leg goes down but doesn’t get a hand to it as the ball goes by to her left. Australia were in trouble, now Australia in command, and beside the drops India have given away about 30 runs from their fielding today. The bowling follows suit, Deepti down the leg side and Gardner can just nudge it through fine leg for four.
38th over: Australia 163-4 (Mooney 46, Gardner 35) And just as I type that, Mooney gets dropped again! Sneh Rana this time, a return catch chance goes down. Mooney down the track and hits it pretty hard but straight back. Slightly awkward height, around the sternum, where Rana doesn’t know whether to go with her fingers pointing up or down. She flinches at the key moment, and instead of catching the ball she damages her spinning finger. Gets some treatment for it and continues. But they dropped Beth Mooney on Friday night, and now twice today. Again letting a match slip after good work.
Mooney celebrates by going back and pulling a short ball for four behind square. And celebrates some more with a flamingo flick shot through midwicket! Another misfield on the rope, Vastrakar this time when she’s well placed for the dive and just doesn’t touch the ball. This is actually awful.
37th over: Australia 155-4 (Mooney 38, Gardner 35) Feeling good, Gardner decides to belt Goswami over long-on for six. The only problem is that she misses the ball. Doesn’t miss the next one, wide of off stump and sliced over backward point, and another poor bit of boundary fielding lets through another boundary. Shafali Verma this time, leaning down with one hand instead of sliding to get her body behind the ball. They’ve been really ordinary in the field again today, India, not backing up their good bowling.
36th over: Australia 148-4 (Mooney 35, Gardner 31) That gets the Australian foot on the pedal! Sneh Rana loses purchase on the ball and sends down a head-high full toss. Only at off-spin pace, don’t worry. Gardner doesn’t, she clobbers the thing through square for four. Then does much the same with the resulting free hit, after a no-ball is called. They end up with 13 from the over.
35th over: Australia 135-4 (Mooney 34, Gardner 20) Goswami returns, with four overs of her allotment remaining, and nearly bowls Mooney first ball! Nipping between bat and pad as Mooney fences off the back foot, and missing the off stump by about a centimetre. A few balls later, Goswami bowls a low full toss looking for the yorker, and Mooney drags it bottom-handed across her body, just wide of mid-on. Gets four, gets lucky.
34th over: Australia 130-4 (Mooney 30, Gardner 20) Sneh Rana bowling with lots of flight, letting the ball drop outside the off stump and keeping Gardner thinking about the dip and where it will pitch. Plays a couple of shots towards point that are fielded, but four times Gardner either blocks or just prods at the ball. Excellent over, hitting that perfect in-between length. Scoreless over to Ash Gardner in limited-overs cricket is an achievement.
33rd over: Australia 130-4 (Mooney 30, Gardner 20) Gayakwad bowls, and Mooney is dropped at cover! Width, drills the shot away but has to reach for it and so lifts the shot. Meghna Singh has to reach to her right at about head height, and it’s travelling, but catchable. Parries it away.
32nd over: Australia 128-4 (Mooney 29, Gardner 19) Schmacko! Gardner leans into a drive against Meghna and clobbers it back down the ground. Over mid-off. Top shot, after chipping two over cover. Danger, danger.
31st over: Australia 121-4 (Mooney 28, Gardner 13) Drinks break, then four singles from Gayakwad’s over. Gardner is still using her feet decisively, even when rotating the strike.
30th over: Australia 117-4 (Mooney 26, Gardner 11) A long conference between the Indians about fields and approach, as Meghna Singh comes back to bowl. Outswing operator. Conventional field. Gaps aplenty. Mooney drops the ball to backward point and takes a sharp run, an unnecessary third umpire review finds Gardner well in her ground. A few singles, then Mooney plays the unusual charging leg glance for two runs to end the over.
29th over: Australia 111-4 (Mooney 22, Gardner 10) Deep cover is out, so when Gardner smokes Vastrakar aerially in that direction she only gets one run. Four singles from the over though, runs coming a little easier.
28th over: Australia 107-4 (Mooney 20, Gardner 8) There goes Gardner, stepping down to hit Deepti over mid-off. Her first boundary. Could be quite the show if she bats through the innings.
27th over: Australia 99-4 (Mooney 18, Gardner 2) Poor fielding again by Goswami. She’s undone by the second bounce as Mooney whacks Vastrakar towards mid-on. It spins past Goswami’s hands at ground level and away for four, unfair given how well Vastrakar has bowled. The bowler bangs in a bouncer but it’s wild down the leg side. A better bounce gets called wide because the first wide was the permitted short ball for the over. It’s not a bowler’s game.
26th over: Australia 90-4 (Mooney 12, Gardner 1) Three singles from Deepti Sharma’s over, Gardner taking her time to have a look.
25th over: Australia 87-4 (Mooney 10, Gardner 0) Vastrakar finishes the over perfectly, a wicket and no score. Beats Gardner’s edge first ball, has her watching the rest go by.
WICKET! Perry c Deepti b Vastrakar 26, Australia 87-4
Ellyse perished! Not sure whether that was luck or targeting a strength, but Vastrakar bowls short and wide, and Perry has received so few loose balls that she snaps at it, not keeping the cut shot down while hitting it straight to the fielder at point.
24th over: Australia 87-3 (Perry 26, Mooney 10) First sign of intent for a while! Down the track comes Mooney, lofting Deepti straight down the ground for four. Deepti bails out of a delivery. Not sure if she was thinking about Perry’s footwork or whether Beth Mooney was wandering out of her ground at the non-striker’s end. Finishes the over conceding two singles plus the boundary.
23rd over: Australia 81-3 (Perry 25, Mooney 5) The gradual accumulation continues, three runs from Vastrakar. A bit of a stalemate, Australia will still back themselves to accelerate later if these two hang around to set a base, but India won’t mind these economical overs because they just need one wicket at the right time to turn the slow scoring rate to their advantage.
22nd over: Australia 78-3 (Perry 24, Mooney 4) Deepti Sharma finds her range to Mooney, bowling over the wicket to the lefty but landing everything in line with the stumps at a decent length, not giving her room. Mooney has to go across the line in dicey fashion to get a run.
21st over: Australia 76-3 (Perry 23, Mooney 3) A change in tack, with the seamer Pooja Vastrakar on to bowl. She’s had a poor couple of games with the ball but starts nicely here, decking her first ball back sharply into the left-hander before hanging a few outside off stump and keeping both players quiet for two singles from the over.
20th over: Australia 74-3 (Perry 22, Mooney 2) India’s spin continues with Deepti Sharma’s off-breaks replacing Gayakwad. Starts badly with a short ball that Perry cuts for four. Later Perry uses her feet to go back and make a ball shorter than it was, cutting again for one. A couple of singles for Mooney who has started with composure.
19th over: Australia 66-3 (Perry 16, Mooney 0) Three runs from Rana’s over, Perry 16 from 32 balls.
18th over: Australia 63-3 (Perry 13, Mooney 0) Gayakward finishes up and that’s 22 runs from the last 10 overs for Australia. Mooney is back facing a rescue job again.
WICKET! Healy run out 35, Australia 62-3
When the luck is running against you... Ellyse Perry is too perfect. Plays dead straight, driving hard at Gayakwad. The spinner misfields again, letting it ricochet off her hands and between her feet. But it just so happens to crash into the stumps at the non-striker’s end, and Healy is backing up out of her ground.
I’m not sure why they bother going for the third umpire when Healy has turned around and starting walking straight off the field.
17th over: Australia 62-2 (Healy 35, Perry 12) It’s not just Perry getting started as the new player, these spinners have slowed down Healy as well. She tries turning Rana to leg and gets a leading edge that falls just short of a short midwicket where Gayakwad messes up the dive and doesn’t reach the catch.
16th over: Australia 60-2 (Healy 34, Perry 11) Something gives! Healy charges down and swats at Gayakwad, closing the bat face, dragging the ball across to mid-on along the ground. One very risky run. Clinical though from Perry when she gets a short ball, cutting it between the fielders at point for four. Adds a couple of runs on the sweep.
15th over: Australia 53-2 (Healy 33, Perry 5) Then three singles from Rana’s over, bowling mostly to Healy, testing her out with a couple of balls that bounce while turning in from outside the off stump.
14th over: Australia 50-2 (Healy 31, Perry 4) Working away at Perry is Gayakwad. Healy gets a run quickly when she gets on strike, but only two singles from the over.
13th over: Australia 48-2 (Healy 30, Perry 3) Hmm. Goswami off, might have kept her going for another over to look for Perry’s wicket early in her innings. Sneh Rana on to bowl off-spin. Perry will happily accumulate against double spin on a decent batting surface through the middle of an innings, that’s her ideal game. Three singles from the over.
12th over: Australia 45-2 (Healy 29, Perry 1) Gayakward bowls, Healy defends, and that’s 21 dot balls in a row for the Indians. Healy takes it upon herself to get things going again, advancing to drive a single, and later guiding two runs away behind point.
11th over: Australia 41-2 (Healy 26, Perry 0) Goswami into her sixth over. Her full-face sunscreen gleaming white in the Mackay sun. Perry hasn’t had much to do this series: didn’t get a hit in game one, didn’t get a score in game two. Faces an over without even attempting to score from Goswami, and gets an in-ducker from the final ball that nearly finds her stumps via the inside edge.
10th over: Australia 41-2 (Healy 26, Perry 0) The brakes have been slammed on. Gayakwad comes on to bowl left-arm spin in the powerplay, to the aggressive Healy, who respectfully dots out a scoreless over.
9th over: Australia 41-2 (Healy 26, Perry 0) Goswami, couldn’t hold things together in the 50th over the other night, bowled two no-balls for height which all but handed Australia the match. But India’s champion shows why she is just that, with two vital interventions just when the openers were getting away.
WICKET! Lanning c Ghosh b Goswami 0, Australia 41-2
Skipper to the crease, Lanning with a quiet series so far by her standards: made a cruisy fifty in the first match chasing, and out cheaply in game two. And out as cheaply as possible in game three! Good length from Goswami, with two slips waiting. It draws Lanning forward, just the slightest bit of movement away perhaps and it takes the edge through to the keeper.
WICKET! Haynes c Verma b Goswami 13, Australia 41-1
Haynes wants to join in on the action, and first ball of Goswami’s over she tries to launch over mid-on. Sliced instead high to mid-off, and though Verma isn’t the safest pair of hands for India she takes this one.
8th over: Australia 41-0 (Haynes 13, Healy 26) Width, slashes, top edge from Healy, guess where? Second slip. May not have carried that time, but the position may have saved four runs. Effort ball from Meghna to follow, an exclamation of effort, but she overpitches looking for swing and Healy puts away the cover drive for four. Overcorrection to follow, Healy pulls four more! On the back foot in a trice.
7th over: Australia 28-0 (Haynes 13, Healy 14) Edged through second slip again! Goswami gets extra bounce this time to Healy and it takes the shoulder of the bat, but again there’s no one home. A gully, but no second. This time the fielding at deep third keeps the scoring to one. Raj does bring in a second slip for the left-handed Haynes, but she muscles the ball inside the line of the mid-on fielder for four.
6th over: Australia 22-0 (Haynes 8, Healy 13) Healy played the pull shot assertively in the first match, taking balls off a relatively full length at times, and she does the same to Meghna Singh here through midwicket for four.
5th over: Australia 17-0 (Haynes 8, Healy 9) Messy. Mithali Raj had two slips a moment ago. Takes one out, so where does Healy edge Goswami next? You guessed it. They have a deep third to field that, but Meghna Singh makes a hash of her dive and knocks the ball over the rope.
4th over: Australia 13-0 (Haynes 8, Healy 5) Moving across her stumps again, Healy, and Meghna Singh is awake to it, firing in at her leg stump to try to bowl her. Healy gets down on it and squirts away a single. Again Haynes blocks out the next five balls. Happy to take her time and build towards a score, she made 93 not out in the first match of this series.
3rd over: Australia 12-0 (Haynes 8, Healy 4) Goswami keeps Haynes quiet, defending away after Healy slices a streaky single.
2nd over: Australia 11-0 (Haynes 8, Healy 3) Healy has strike to Meghna Singh. Interesting that the Australians set up this way, because they would have known that Goswami would bowl the first over. Granted, Goswami did bowl Healy in the first match, but she also tends to bowl shorter which Healy doesn’t mind. Meghna has been swinging the ball away from the right-hander consistently, and causing her some problems consistently. Cat and mouse as Healy moves around her crease, picks up a couple of runs then gets off strike. No such problems for the left-handed Haynes, who strides forward and caresses a square drive to the fence.
1st over: Australia 4-0 (Haynes 4, Healy 0) Welcome back, Rachael Haynes. Gets a full ball on her legs from Goswami and whips it away for four, while facing the entire first over.
Alyssa Healy +
Meg Lanning *
Mithali Raj *
Richa Ghosh +
Haynes is back, but neither of the all-rounders misses out because Georgia Wareham picked up a muscle strain on Friday. Then there’s rotation of two young seamers, with Darcie Brown and Hannah Darlington out for Sutherland and Campbell, the latter making her debut.
As for India, just one spin rotation (ha ha ha) with Sneh Rana back: she’s playing games one and three, Poonam Yadav is out after playing one and two, and Rajeshwari Gayakward stays in to play games two and three.
Australia win the toss and will bat
Changing it up again, Meg Lanning, after the coin falls her way once again.
One question for Australia: does Rachael Haynes come back today? Probably not, you’d expect she’ll be out with her sore elbow until the Test match. But if she is fit today, who goes out? Tahlia McGrath, who played so well? Nicola Carey, likewise? And Haynes returning would mean Beth Mooney going back into the middle order, after her matchwinning masterpiece opening the batting.
The big question is how will India respond. They were in front all day on Friday, against the benchmark team in the world. They should have won, were winning, would have won, and for a moment did win, until they didn’t. They wore that close no-ball call, and had an lbw decision missed late in the piece. But they also failed with their fielding in the final overs, repeatedly fumbling to allow extra runs and preclude run-outs.
Two options. Dropping a match like that might dispirit them to the point that they fall apart today. Or it might fire them up, to see that they can challenge Australia, to see their batters making runs and their bowlers creating pressure with that backing. I’m expecting more of the former, but it would be good to see the latter.
It was one of the classics, the other night. One of the all-time most bonkers finishes. Australia lost off the last ball of the match, a wicket falling with three runs needed, then won off the last ball of the match after the former last ball of the match was deemed a no-ball. But it wasn’t just about that, it was about putting together one of the biggest chases ever to win by an Australian women’s team. It was about being behind the pace all night but staying in touch. It was about the hard running work that reined in a climbing required run rate even without boundaries being possible. And it was about a world record winning streak in the format that stayed alive and reached 26 in a row.
Today comes the third and final one-day match in this multiformat series, with a Test and three T20s to come. It seems reasonable that it might be a bit quieter than Friday’s game, like there might be a letdown from that height. But who knows? Maybe it will be even better.