It’s been nearly 40 years. Australia Women and India will start a one-off Test match, again at Wankhede, to kick off their multi-format series. Tests are rare for women. India will have a tough challenge stepping out in whites just four days after a historic win over England in Navi Mumbai. India were helped by an extra day off in recovering and setting sights on Australia.
For Australia, it’s a fresh start, too. Meg Lanning, under whose captaincy they reached new heights, is not around anymore. Alyssa Healy was handed the reins, and this is her first tour as full-time captain, while Tahlia McGrath is vice-captain.
Smriti Mandhana had busy training sessions leading up to the Test. Last time India played Australia, Mandhana scored her only century in the format. Jess Jonassen idolised Daniel Vettori growing up, but has been studying Ravindra Jadeja to prepare to bowl in Mumbai.
Harmanpreet gave little away about the combination, saying, “I have 13 players in my mind and will take a final call in the evening.”
The allrounders in Australia’s squad give them great depth, both with the bat and ball. Expect them to stick with the XI they played at the Ashes.
The pitch at the Wankhede had a green look around the middle the day before the game. The temperature in Mumbai has been in the late 20s and early 30s.
“When you bat and bowl for three days – the likes of Deepti and Pooja, who didn’t get enough rest [after the England Test] – we try to take care of their loads. They need to feel ready for the game and we made them train accordingly. The ones who had lesser loads, we pushed them hard in the nets to feel more confident.” – Harmanpreet Kaur