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One-off day-night Test: Mandhana steers India to 132/1 as rain forces early stumps

Mandhana hit 15 boundaries in the 144-ball 80*

smriti-mandhana-test-twitter Smriti Mandhana in action during the one-off day-night Test match between India Women and Australia Women in Carrara | via Twitter

Heavy rain brought an abrupt end to the first day’s play in the one-off day-night Test match between India Women and Australia Women in Carrara. India, who were put into bat, reached 132/1 at stumps, with opener Smriti Mandhana unbeaten on a career-best 80.

Punam Raut was at the other end on 16, before another spell of rain forced early tea. Play could not be resumed post the break because of persistent rain.

Mandhana, who hit 15 boundaries in the 144-ball innings, added 93 for the opening stand with Shafali Verma (31 off 64 balls), who played the second fiddle during their partnership.

Most of the second session's play was washed out but Mandhana added another 16 runs to surpass her previous best of 78.

She pulled Tahlia McGrath for a six over deep square leg and also carted the same bowler over mid-wicket for a boundary.

Raut and Mandhana have added 39 runs for the unbroken second wicket stand.

The Australian team's decision to field first after laying a green strip for the visitors did seem to have backfired as Mandhana attacked them straightaway during the first hour of play.

In fact, it was a case of role reversal which perhaps caught the Australians off-guard as Shafali was more intent on playing a defensive game while her senior partner attacked with great gusto.

Debutant Darcie Brown got some special punishment as Mandhana hit her for a number of boundaries both on the off-side as well as a few whip shots on the leg-side.

Ellyse Perry also took a few overs to find the right length. The elegant Indian left-hander reached her run-a-ball fifty in no time with a cover drive of McGrath.

Whenever Mandhana bisected between point and cover or cover or mid-off, it was the most pleasant sight.

Shafali, though she did hit four boundaries, looked a bit scratchy and offered a couple of chances - one to Meg Lanning in the slips which was a reflex catch and the other to Annabel Sutherland stationed at mid-on.

Finally, she was gone trying to hit left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux against the turn and offered a sitter to McGrath at mid-off.

(With PTI inputs)

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