It was a dream come true to play in the pink-ball Test: Smriti Mandhana

Women's CricZone Staff
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Punam Raut has earned lot of respect among team-mates, says Smriti Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana celebrates her century © Getty Images

Indian opener Smriti Mandhana said that she will cherish the experience of playing in her team’s first-ever pink-ball Test against Australia earlier this month. The left-hand batter, who scored her maiden Test century in the day/night Test added that she never thought she would get an opportunity to represent India in the longest format.

“Test matches are the best. That was a good experience to play one earlier this year in England and one here (in Australia),” Mandhana, who is currently representing Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League, said during a Clubhouse session ahead of the first-ever final of the women’s " rel="noopener noreferrer">Red Bull Campus Cricket tournament.

“It 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 imagined that I would get the opportunity to play in the Test match, let alone a day/night Test. Even though I am in my eighth year of international cricket, it was a dream come true to play in the historic Test match for India.”

Even though India lost the multi-format series against Australia, 5-11, after the Test match ended in a draw, Mandhana believes India can take a lot of positives from the series. India’s T20I vice-captain was all praise for the bowlers who put up a good show against the mighty Australians in every single match.

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“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 team. To come to Australia and outplay their bowlers and outplay their pacers was so amazing. The way Jhulan di (Goswami), Pooja (Vastrakar) and Renuka (Singh) and Shikha di (Pandey) bowled in the T20 format was amazing to watch.”

The 25-year-old who was the highest run-scorer of the multi-format series with 362 runs said the series could have had a different result if it wasn’t for the rain interruptions through the series. “If results would have gone in a different way it would have been even more better for India. Rain played spoilsport in the Test and the first T20I in which we were in a very good position to win. Maybe things would have been different if there was no rain,” she added.

Mandhana, currently ranked No.6 in the ODI batting charts, believes India are looking forward to improving their batting depth ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand next year. “It is a conscious effort to have batting depth, especially in T20I 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. Jhulan di finished the match for us in the third ODI. It showed we are all working very hard on batting.”

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India, who got the first taste of Ashes-like multi-format series when they played England earlier this year, had the opportunity to experience its intricacies in the series against Australia in September-October as well. Mandhana backed the concept saying it provided much needed context to every game.

“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.”

“We just love playing red-ball cricket and now with the pink ball. It will be cool to have a lot more of Tests, especially multi-format series. It will also give a lot of substance to the only Test match because it has four points,” Mandhana concluded.