Australia draws with India to take series lead


In a drawn women’s cricket Test on the Gold Coast, Australia were clearly outplayed by India, but the hosts will take a two-point advantage into the last leg of their multi-format series.

In the last session of the match at Metricon Stadium on Sunday, Australia were set a near-impossible target of 272 at 8.5 runs per over, but they finished at 2-36 when the teams agreed to halt the match at the drinks break with an hour still to play.

After losing openers Alyssa Healy (6) and Beth Mooney (11) in the first 11 overs, Australia decided not to go for the impossible chase.

Ellyse Perry finished on 1 and Captain Meg Lanning finished on 17 not out.

Perry has scored 473 runs in five Test innings and has only been removed once.

Both teams get two points in the match, giving Australia a 6-4 advantage heading into the multi-format series’ final leg.

Starting on Thursday, the three-match T20 segment will be played over five nights at Metricon.

India dominated for the majority of the match, which seemed destined to end in a draw after weather limited the first two days’ play to only 101.5 overs.

“I think we would have gotten a result in four days if it hadn’t been for the weather in this Test,” Lanning said.

“At the conclusion of the Test, it was a challenging little session for us, but I thought India performed incredibly well throughout.

“They got us on the back foot early in the Test, and we had to fight our way back, which I’m happy of the team for doing.”

Mithali Raj, the Indian captain, admitted that the timing of her declaration had been difficult.

“When we declared, we thought that if we could get four wickets in the first hour, we might be able to get into the necessary overs (in the last hour),” Raj explained.

“However, collecting eight wickets in the last 15 overs was a stretch.”

While there were three declarations in this match, none of them were particularly daring, and the pitch performed nicely, despite India’s seamers extracting both swing and movement.

After Australia averted the follow-on, Lanning declared 136 behind on 9-241 just before the scheduled lunch break on Sunday.

Perry (68 not out) and Gardner (51) extended their overnight partnership to 89 runs, with Gardner scoring her first Test fifty.

On Sunday, Perry was given the benefit of the doubt on an LBW judgement on 37 and was dropped on 58 and 61.

Gardner’s ejection sparked a 5-32 collapse on both sides of the second new ball.

Pooja Vastraka (3-49), Meghna Singh (2-54) and Jhulan Goswami (2-49), India’s speed trio, wreaked havoc on the opposition and were ably assisted by spinner Deepti Sharma (2-36).

Shafali Verma (52) and Smriti Mandhana (31) put up 70 in 17.5 overs to give India a great start, but the run rate fell following two fast wickets to finger spinners Sophie Molineux and Gardner.

Georgia Wareham, who had previously been used sparingly, took her first Test wicket by catching Verma early in the final session.

India declared on 3-135 after 37 overs, with Punam Raut finishing on 41 not out.

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