Smriti Mandhana grabbed the headlines in the Indian women team’s maiden pink ball Test against Australia by scoring an elegant half-century at Carrara Oval, Queensland on Thursday (September 30).
The stylish opener looked in fine touch and went to score a glorious 127 in India’s first innings to lead the foundation of a big total.
Speaking after the first day’s play, Mandhana explained how she familiarised herself with the pink ball by keeping one in her kit bag for the last three months.
“We just had two sessions with pink ball. I was coming from the Hundred (in England) so I didn’t really get much time to play with pink ball, but during Hundred, I just ordered a pink kookaburra ball, just to keep it in my room because I knew that there is going to be a Test match, so that I can just look at the ball and understand.
“I have actually not batted, I batted for just two sessions but the pink ball was there in my kit bag for last two and half, three months. I don’t know why did I carry it, I thought I will have a session but I really didn’t get time to do that,” she said during a virtual press conference after stumps on Day 1.
Speaking further on her preparation for the Day-Night Test, the southpaw said, “I don’t think we had a lot of time to work regarding this, we are just trying. People who are sitting out really helped, they kept me pumped up throughout the day, they contributed in making me focus in the way I did today.”
Mandhana’s plan was to play the ball as per merit and not over complicate things.
“I wanted that I just don’t look at the scorecard, was just trying to be as blank and simple, play according to the ball. I didn’t really plan anything.
“Last two days I felt good, felt I was able to bat well. I will try and do that tomorrow because I don’t want to complicate things.”
Australia won the toss and opted to bowl first but didn’t enjoy a good start to the game.
“They bowled slightly short in the first 15 overs but made up in the latter stages. We are used to batting first now but with the kind of wicket it looked like we also would have batted first. But, looking at the scoreboard now, we are happy to bat first.
“The openers have to step up and provide a good base whenever this kind of conditions come up,” Mandhana said.
Smriti Mandhana also showered rich praise on her fellow opener Shafali Verma (31), with whom she shared a 93-run partnership.
“In England we had 150-odd run partnership. We just try and back each other, we have good conversations. She was really batting well on this wicket.”