The series was lost but star opener Smriti Mandhana feels the Indian women’s cricket team gained quite a lot from its recent tour of Australia, the biggest positive being the visiting bowlers’ lion-hearted performance in the multi-format rubber. (More Cricket News)
India lost the series 5-11 after going down in the white-ball leg and drawing the lone Test. “We had a lot of positives. Everyone did well, especially the bowling. It was one department where we were way better than the Aussies which is a huge thing for the Indian team,” Mandhana said.
“To come to Australia and outplay their bowlers and outplay their pacers was so amazing to watch, the way Jhulan di (Goswami) bowled, Pooja (Vastrakar) bowled and Renuka (Singh) and Shikha di (Pandey) bowled in the T20 format...”
“It was amazing to watch our bowlers dominating the Australian batters, that was the biggest positive,s” Mandhana added.
The stylish southpaw, who had one of her best away series where she scored 86 in an ODI followed by a majestic 127, her first ton in Tests, and then a 52 in the final women’s T20 international, added that had rain not played spoilsport, the series could have gone India's way.
“If results would have gone differently it would have been even more better for India. Rain played spoilsport in the Test match and the first T20 which we were in a very good position to win.
“Not blaming the rain but things would have maybe been different had the rain not happened but there were so many positives from the series,” said Mandhana, who is currently playing for Sydney Thunder in the ongoing Women’s Big Bash League.
The 25-year-old said the Indian team is working on improving its batting depth and the recent performances by the lower middle order is testament to the efforts being put in.
“That's a conscious effort to have good batting depth specially in T20 and ODI format because in white-ball cricket we might lose a few wickets and it shouldn't always be top heavy. We should have a lot of contributors.
“Our lower middle order is contributing a lot and have done amazingly in the recent series. Jhulan di finished the match for us in the third ODI, it showed we are all working very hard on batting and getting our number 7,8 9 to bat,” she added.
The limited-overs vice-captain backed the idea of multi-format series. “I’m absolutely in love with this multi-format series. I think it gives substance to all the matches we play whether it is three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is.
“Sometimes you lose two matches and think the series is lost (but in multi-format series) you go in every match thinking there are two points to gain. India, who were in a good position to win, drew their first day-night Test against Australia which was curtailed due to the rain.
“We as women cricketers just love playing red-ball cricket and now with the pink ball. It will be cool to have a lot more of Test matches specially multi-format series. It will also give a lot of substance to the only Test match because it has 4 points,” Mandhana said.
The Indian team had also played a Test against England during the summer. Mandhana said playing the day-night game, although challenging, was a dream come true.
“It was a good experience of playing one (Test) in England and one here. Day-night was a new challenge for all of us, we really didn't get time to practice with the pink ball. We got only two days before the match.
“I never thought I'd get a chance to play with the pink ball. The experience under lights in whites was a dream come true.”