The one-off Test between India and the mighty Australia looked evenly poised until the day 3 of the Test match, with Australia looking to build a strong lead and set up a healthy target to chase for India. But when Team India walked into the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday morning, they had other ideas.
The home team achieved its first-ever Test victory over Australia, winning by eight wickets over the course of the following three hours and fifteen minutes as they perfectly carried out their game plan.
How Team India upset the Aussies
It’s never easy to win two Test matches in a row within a week, but India sent a powerful message by building on their victory against England and dominated Australia in every aspect of the game. India’s inexperience in Test cricket did not, for once, show in their performance. Their ability to finish the Australian innings on the last day by taking the final five wickets at a cost of just 28 runs was testament to their tenacity.
Resuming at 233 for 5, Australia needed a solid partnership to get going. However, Sneh Rana (4 for 63) and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2 for 42) had other plans. After troubling the touring side in the first innings, Pooja Vastrakar provided the early breakthrough by trapping Ashleigh Gardner leg before off a fine yorker in the second over of the day.
After taking three wickets in the first essay, Rana bowled with aggression as India tightened the noose. The pressure was on Annabel Sutherland after losing a wicket early on, but she was caught by Rana while trying to play a sweep and offering a catch to Yastika Bhatia behind the stumps.
But the umpire did not rule in India’s favor, and the Indian side was forced—just in time—to refer to the TV umpire. India won the decision, which ultimately led to Australia’s collapse.
The very next delivery, Rana took another wicket to add to her total, while Gayakwad quickly finished the innings with two quick wickets.
There were still more than two sessions left, and India needed 75 runs. In the opening over, Shafali Verma got off to a boundary before nicking off Kim Garth. Smriti Mandhana, who was unbeaten at 38 (61b, 6×4), partnered with Richa Ghosh for a vital 51 runs for the second wicket.
The debutant Richa, who scored a fifty in the first innings, earned a reprieve early on as Beth Mooney dropped her at first slip off Gardner. However, she calmed her nerves and built on with Mandhana to guide the team closer home.
India was 20 runs away from a historic triumph when she was caught by Tahlia McGrath at mid-on. Before Mandhana added a boundary to complete the victory, Jemimah Rodrigues smashed two fours to accelerate India’s pace towards victory.