Plan is to get early breakthroughs and enforce follow-on, says Pooja Vastrakar

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Plan is to get early breakthroughs and enforce follow-on, says Pooja Vastrakar

Pooja Vastrakar celebrates a wicket © Getty Images

India scored 377 for eight in their first innings of the pink-ball Test before declaring during the second session on third day of the match at the Carrara Stadium on Saturday (October 2). Spearhead Jhulan Goswami was once again in her elements as she helped the visitors snare the openers Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy relatively early. From there, young pacer Pooja Vastrakar helped India pick up the prized wicket of Meg Lanning as well as allrounder Tahlia McGrath. Australia finished the day with 143 for four with the match looking like meandering towards a draw.

Vastrakar believes for India to force a result on the final day, they need to get through the overnight pair of Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner early on day four to enforce the follow-on against the hosts.

“We want to make Australia follow-on. If we have to win the match, we have to come with more intent tomorrow. We should try and break the partnership and enforce the follow-on,” Vastrakar said at the media interaction at the end of the day’s play.

“If intent is there, anything can be done in the game of cricket. It is not impossible, we will try. In two sessions, we picked up four wickets which was crucial.”

The 22-year-old was pleased with the experience of bowling under lights with the pink-ball and added that she didn’t focus on the batters. Her attention was on getting the line and length right.

“It was a great experience bowling with the pink-ball under the lights. These balls don’t move as much as the red ball. It moved initially and stopped doing things once it got older. I had fun bowling under the lights,” Vastrakar said.

“The spinners were trying to keep tight lines but the pacers were going after the wickets. My job was to stick to the right line and length and it helped me get the results.”

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Healy, who kept the whole Indian innings before coming out to open the batting, was surprised and impressed by the visiting pacers’ bowling performance.

“It was fun. Walking off isn’t as fun, but the challenge was fun,” Healy said. “Jhulan got the better of me quite a few times. She’s a world class bowler and has been throughout her career. She gets that extra bit of bounce, challenging especially after 140 overs in the field.”

“Their consistency probably surprised me more than it has in the past. Just the way Indians have been able to come out and bowl consistently with their line and length and present the seam has been impressive. It’s great to see so many young Indian players getting an opportunity,” Healy said. “We prepared for Shikha Pandey but she didn’t even get a look in, which is a great sign for Indian cricket.”

Australia currently are 234 runs behind and need a further 85 more runs to avoid the follow-on. The vice-captain hoped that Perry and Gardner would bat through most of the overs and take them to safety on the final day of the Test.

“I think Pez’s (Ellyse Perry) knock today was really important, I think for the morale in the change room as well. Obviously, probably some negativity around the way Meg (Lanning) got out. For Pez to be at the other end and look as solid as she did. And still cash in on the loose deliveries, just showed us the way to approach this,” Healy added.

“I think Tahlia McGrath as well as was the one approached it in a nice aggressive way. Those to out there together calmed the dressing room together. Pez is still out there and I hope she bats for all the 108 overs.”