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Women's Cricket

Question about team selection as Indian women gear up for pink-ball Test

Team India last time played against Australia in a Test way back in February 2006 at Adelaide

India vs Australia women test cricket
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India vs Australia test start tommorrow (Source: BCCI Women/Twitter)

By

Shruti Banerjee

Updated: 29 Sep 2021 3:26 PM GMT

After a nerve-wrecking defeat in the second ODI, Team India bounced back quite well in the next to clinch the final ODI in another nail-biting fashion. With this, India have added two points to their tally in the multi-format series against Australia.

In both the cases, it was veteran India speedster Jhulan Goswami who faced the final overs โ€“ while in the second ODI she failed to win the match with the ball, in the third one, she took the team home with the bat after spearheading the bowling attack and registering the figure of 3 for 37.

However, the focus has shifted to the one-off Test now which will be played with the pink ball. And, for India, they are going to experience it for the first time. Team India last time played against Australia in a Test way back in February 2006 at Adelaide. Both Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami had played there. While Mithali didn't have a good show, Goswami starred with the ball with four for 43 in 24 overs.

Ahead of the much-anticipated Pink-ball Test, Team India got a massive blow as their vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur hasn't been recovered yet and will miss the Test as well. However, some of the spots are fixed like Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma to open the innings for India whereas Mithali Raj will come at four, Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana will come in the lower middle-order. On the other hand, Taniya Bhatia, who had a great debut in Test against England both with the bat and the gloves, is likely to continue in place of Richa Ghosh.

Meanwhile, there are a few more options in the squad to take over Kaur's position, namely Punam Raut, Yastika Bhatia as well as Jemimah Rodrigues. While Raut hadn't featured in the ODI series alongside Rodrigues, the latter had a successful stint in The Hundred and Yastika had a successful debut in the ODI series as well.

As far as bowling unit is concerned, India played two off-spinners and three pacers in their last Test match against England in June. But, for the day-night Test against Australia, if they want to include one extra spinner then Rajeshwari Gayakwad could be the one as well. While Goswami will spearhead the pace attack, it is expected that either Shikha Pandey or Meghna Singh could be the other pacer.

"We are quite pleased with the way the three fast bowlers have bowled in the ODI series. Jhulan being the most experienced and she is helping the others -- Pooja Vastrakar and Meghna. I think we do have some quality seamers in Meghna and Pooja, we do have Shikha Pandey also. I think it is a good pace department that we now have in the side," said the India skipper.

On the other hand, the hosts too are struggling with injury issues. Their vice-captain Rachael Haynes has been ruled out from the rest of the series due to a hamstring injury whereas Georgia Wareham's availability is yet to be confirmed. Moreover, they won't get the service of Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen as they both have been pulled off ahead of the series.

While their batting unit is strong enough to create hurdle for any team, Haynes' absence could see some new faces in the squad as well. Georgia Redmayne is likely to be added to the playing XI. As far as bowling unit is concerned, Ellyse Perry will lead the pace attack. Although she is not in her usual form, as an all-rounder she has had a great record in Test. She had scored a double hundred as well.

However, Perry is likely to get Darcie Brown with her. She has been in great form had since the last WBBL season. Along with Annabel Sutherland and Tahlia McGrath in the squad, only one player could be added among Brown, Stella Campbell and Hannah Darlington.

Seeing the rather inexperienced bowling attack of the hosts, it can be said that if Team India manage to bat well, they can have a chance to win in their first-ever Pink-ball Test.

"Definitely, the most significant thing is that we had two Tests this year. We played one in England and now we are playing against Australia. If this becomes a regular feature in bilateral series, then women's cricket will thrive. I get this feedback most of the time, even today's players who play in different leagues, they also love to play the longer format, if it becomes a regular thing, it will be great for women's cricket," said Mithali Raj.

Squads

Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht

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