India Women opener Smriti Mandhana brought up her maiden Test century on Friday in a one-off match against Australia Women at Carrara. With that, she became the first Indian woman to score a century in a Pink Ball test.
It was India Women’s first ever Day-Night match and after being put in to bat, Mandhana put on a fine show to put her team in a good position.
She is also only the second Indian to score a century in a pink-ball Test after Virat Kohli.(Fun fact: Both have the same jersey number – 18). The Delhi batsman had scored a ton against Bangladesh in the men’s team’s first ever day-night affair at Eden Gardens in 2019. Mandhana is, however, the first Indian to achieve the feat in an overseas Test.
India(W) team’s in excellent position
With her opening partner Shafali Verma playing a more slow-paced knock, Smriti Mandhana went about putting pressure on the Australian bowlers right from the start.
Playing only her fourth Test, Mandhana raced to her half-century off just 51 balls. Mandhana seemed to have all the time in the world as she rocked back and pierced the gaps in the field when faced with short deliveries. When Australia pitched it fuller, she drove in typically elegant fashion.
After reaching her half-century, she slowed down as Verma looked to become the aggressor on the other end. However, the partnership was brought to an end when Verma miscued a shot off Sophie Molineux to Tahlia McGrath at mid-off for 31. The openers put up 93 runs for the first wicket.
Mandhana and Punam Raut were then put in the grind before rain stopped play early on Day 1. Mandhana carried on from where she left off on Day 2 as they continued to frustrate the Australian bowlers.
The “fans-favorite” left hander brought up her maiden Test century with two boundaries in the 52nd over. Mandhana went on to make 127 runs before finding McGrath at cover off Ashleigh Gardner.
Mandhana faced 216 deliveries for her 127, hitting 22 fours and one six. She put on 102 runs for the second wicket with Punam Raut, leaving India at the driver’s seat at 195/2 when she departed.
Mandhana talks about the century
At the dinner break, Smriti had a chat with the broadcasters and shared her experience of this new record she sets, saying,
“Really happy that I finally I got through this 80s period, I keep getting out out in 80s and 90s and really pleased to get the hundred. Obviously disappointed as you want to get as much as you can after being set but overall really happy.”
“I like the ball coming onto the bat and short ball is something I look forward to and I’m happy they bowled short and whichever were in my zone, I had to go for it. We will have to watch the weather and there is some rain forecast. We will see how it goes (on plans of any declaration) in the the next one session or so and I think it really depends on the weather.”