Carrara: Smriti Mandhana, Indian opener became the first Indian woman to score a century in a pink-ball women’s cricket Test against Australia on Day Two in Carrara, Queensland on Friday.
Mandhana, who was 80 not out overnight, after most of first day’s play was washed out due to rain was caught off a no-ball in the 46th over of the innings but maintained her composure to reach the landmark.
Mandhana familiarised herself with the pink ball by keeping one in her kit bag for the last three months, looking at it on and off while trying to ‘understand’ it. When the idea struck her, little did Mandhana know that her team would enter their first-ever day/night Test match with just two days of training sessions with the pink ball.
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The idea to keep the coloured ball around her worked well for the stylish player, who was batting on a sublime 80 when inclement weather brought an early end to the opening day of their historic Test, against a formidable Australian side here.
“We just had two sessions with pink ball. I was coming from the Hundred (in England) so I didn’t really get much time to play with pink ball, but during Hundred, I just ordered a pink kookaburra ball, just to keep it in my room because I knew that there is going to be a Test match, so that I can just look at the ball and understand.
I have actually not batted, I batted for just two sessions but the pink ball was there in my kit bag for last two and half, three months. I don’t know why did I carry it, I thought I will have a session but I really didn’t get time to do that,” Mandhana said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
Mandhana headlined a rain-hit opening day with a career-best knock which had elegance written all over it as the Indian women’s cricket team finished on 132 for 1. Speaking further on her preparation for the pink ball Test, she said, “I don’t think we had a lot of time to work regarding this, we are just trying. People who are sitting out really helped, they kept me pumped up throughout the day, they contributed in making me focus in the way I did today,” Mandhana said.
The Indian star said her plan was to just play as per merit and not over complicate things. “I wanted that I just don’t look at the scorecard, was just trying to be as blank and simple, play according to the ball. I didn’t really plan anything. Last two days I felt good, felt I was able to bat well. I will try and do that tomorrow because I don’t want to complicate things.”
Hosts Australia decided to put India in to bat after winning the toss but did not enjoy a good start to the game. “They bowled slightly short in the first 15 overs but made up in the latter stages. We are used to batting first now but with the kind of wicket it looked like we also would have batted first. But, looking at the scoreboard now, we are happy to bat first.
“The openers have to step up and provide a good base whenever this kind of conditions come up,” Mandhana said.