Aus W v Ind W, pink-ball Test: Shafali scores fifty as visitors extend lead to 242 (Tea, Day 4)

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Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma in action (Photo/ BCCI Women Twitter)
Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma in action (Photo/ BCCI Women Twitter)

Queensland [Australia], October 3 (ANI): Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana scored runs at a brisk pace as India extended their lead to 242 in the second session of Day Four of the ongoing pink-ball Test here at the Carrara Oval in Queensland on Sunday.

At the tea break, India's score read 106/2 with a lead of 242 runs. For the visitors, Shafali (51*) and Punam Raut (16*) are still at the crease.

Resuming their second innings with a lead of 136, India got off to a good start as the opening duo of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhan put on 51 runs inside the first 14 overs. The 70-run opening stand finally came to an end in the 18th over as Sophie Molineux dismissed Mandhana (31) with the visitors' lead being 206.

Yastika Bhatia (3) failed to leave a mark with the bat and she was dismissed by Ashleigh Gardner, reducing India to 74/2 in the 21st over. In the end, Punam Raut and Shafali ensured that the visitors do not lose any more wickets before the tea break.

Earlier, right ahead of the dinner break, Australia skipper Meg Lanning declared the innings at 241/9 -- still trailing by 136 runs. For the hosts, Ellyse Perry (67*) remained unbeaten. Resuming Day 4 at 143/4, overnight batters Ashleigh Gardner and Ellyse Perry grinded it out in the middle and they did not let India bowlers walk away with early breakthroughs. Perry registered her half-century as a result, she became the first Australian woman to register four consecutive fifty-plus scores in Test cricket.

The 91-run stand for the fifth wicket finally came to an end in the 79th over. Deepti Sharma sent Gardner (51) back to the pavilion. Annabel Sutherland (3) failed to leave a mark with the bat as her innings was ended by Meghna Singh and Australia was reduced to 216/6 in the 84th over. Meghna continued with her probing line and length and this resulted in the dismissal of Sophie Molineux (2) and Australia found itself in a spot of bother at 220/7. Pooja Vastrakar then got into the act and she got the better of Georgia Wareham (2) with Australia still five runs away from avoiding the follow-on.

In the end, Australia managed to avoid the follow-on. Deepti Sharma then got the better of Darcie Brown (8) in the 96th over and Australia was reduced to 240/9. Soon after, Australia skipper Lanning decided to declare the innings, still being 136 runs behind. On the third day of the ongoing Test, India declared their innings at 377/8 after Smriti Mandhana top-scored with a knock of 127 runs.

Brief Scores: India 377/8 d and 106/2 (Shafali Verma 51*, Smriti Mandhana 31, Ashleigh Gardner 1-); Australia 241/9 d (Ellyse Perry 67*, Ashleigh Gardner 51, Pooja Vastrakar 3-49) (ANI)

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