Mandhana scores fluent fifty as India reach 101/1 vs Australia at Dinner break
Gold Coast: Smriti Mandhana was elegance personified during her sublime unbeaten half-century as India made a solid start, reaching 101 for 1 at the dinner break on the first day of their one-off Day/Night pink ball Test against Australia here on Thursday.
Mandhana, who peppered the off-side field repeatedly with some gorgeous shots to reach 64 off 112 balls with 13 boundaries, added 93 for the opening stand with Shafali Verma (31 off 64 balls), who played the second fiddle during their partnership.
The Australian team's decision to field first after laying a green strip for the visitors did seem to backfire 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 defensive game as 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 as the elegant left-hander reached her run-a-ball fifty in no time with a cover drive of Tahlia McGrath.
Whenever Mandhana bisected between point and cover or cover or mid-off, it was the most pleasant sight.
In case of Shafali, she did hit four boundaries but also looked a bit scratchy having 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.
Mandhana's innings had two parts -- while the first fifty came at break neck speed, the next 14 runs took 62 deliveries as she played the defensive game till lunch in the company of Punam Raut (1 batting).
Brief Scores: India 1st Innings 101/1 in 33 overs (Smriti Mandhana 64 batting, Shafali Verma 31; Sophie Molineux 1/18) vs Australia.