Rodrigues, Deepti fifties help India gain upper hand

Half-centuries from Mandhana, Rodrigues, Ghosh and Sharma propel India to a 157-run lead

Mrinalini Majumdar
New Update

Jemimah Rodrigues scored her second consecutive Test fifty © Getty Images

Two big century partnerships helped India to a 157-run lead on the second day of the one-off Test against Australia at the Wankhede Cricket Stadium in Mumbai on Friday (December 22). The first one came after a mix-up that led to a run out and the second one was to arrest a mini-collapse.

Jemimah Rodrigues and debutant Richa Ghosh added 113 runs and Deepti Sharma and Pooja Vastrakar ended the day with an unbeaten 102-run stand for the eighth wicket. 

For Australia, Ashleigh Gardner toiled hard bowling 41 overs to take four wickets. 

Day two ended with India standing strong with a hefty 376 for 7. In her maiden Test match knock, Ghosh scored 52 and in the company of Rodrigues helped India recover from the run out of Smriti Mandhana.

Despite a mini-collapse, Indian batters made the most of the day with four players - Mandhana, Rodrigues, Ghosh and Deepti - getting to their fifties. 

At the start of the day, the visitors managed to restrict the overnight India batters Mandhana and Sneh Rana, largely thanks to the off-spin of Gardner. Although Rana did her job as the night watch, runs were hard to come by unlike the third session on Day 1.

Once Gardner accounted for Rana, it seemed like in the guidance of Mandhana, the young batters would take India to a good position. However, the mix-up with Ghosh meant the India vice-captain missed out on a possible hundred and had to walk back on 74.

Post lunch, the second session saw Ghosh and Rodrigues pick up pace and surge India ahead of Australia’s total. Rodrigues scored her second 50 in the second Test match of her career even as the Aussie bowlers tried to restrict the flow of runs.

With runs hard to come by and having completed her maiden fifty, Ghosh tried to take on Kim Garth after the lunch break and was perished in the hands of Gardner on the boundary. Gardner then had the big scalps of Harmanpreet Kaur and Rodrigues, she also removed Yastika Bhatia as India lost four wickets for just 14 runs. 

Australia used eight bowlers in an attempt to keep India under pressure, Jess Jonassen and Annabel Sutherland did manage to keep things in check in the company of Gardner. 

ALSO READ: Determination of Deepti, magic of Mandhana take India ahead

However, the best period of play for the visitors came when Indians took on the bowling and suffered that collapse where they lost skipper Harmanpreet for a duck with a delivery that kept low.

After a roller-coaster second session, Deepti and Vastrakar batted on with some care. The duo strung together a partnership carefully without taking much risk. 

And in the last hour, the duo did manage a few boundaries - especially Deepti - to take India’s progress further and kept Australia wicket-less in the final session. Deepti and Vastrakar added 100 runs during the third session to end India’s day on a high. 

Brief Scores - Day 2: India 1st innings 376 for 7 for 1 in 119 overs (Smriti Mandhana 74; Jemimah Rodrigues 73, Deepti Sharma 70*; Ashleigh Gardner 4/100) India lead by Australia 157 runs