Mumbai: It was a Christmas Eve to remember for the Indian women’s cricket team as they registered their first-ever Test win over Australia in the one-off match of the multi-format series at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side chased down 75 runs in the fourth innings with eight wickets in hand to seal the historic victory.
This was India’s 11th Test against Australia, having lost six and drawn four in the previous encounters. This was also India’s first Test win at home since 2006 when they beat England by five wickets in Lucknow. India had played only one Test at home between 1995 and 2023, which was a draw against South Africa in 2014.
India dominated the match from the start, bowling out Australia for 219 on the first day after opting to field. Sneh Rana, the off-spinner making her Test debut, was the star performer with four wickets, while veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad took two each.
India then piled up 406 in their first innings, thanks to half-centuries by opener Smriti Mandhana (67), wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh (72), middle-order batter Jemimah Rodrigues (62) and all-rounder Deepti Sharma (66). India had a lead of 187 runs, which put them in a commanding position.
Australia fought back in their second innings, with skipper Meg Lanning scoring 86 and vice-captain Rachael Haynes making 63. The duo added 117 runs for the third wicket to give Australia some hope of setting a challenging target. However, India’s spinners struck back in the final session of the third day, reducing Australia to 233 for 5 at stumps.
On the fourth and final day, India wrapped up the Australian innings for 261, claiming the last five wickets for just 28 runs in 15.4 overs. Sneh Rana and Rajeshwari Gayakwad bagged two wickets each, while Deepti Sharma took one. Sneh Rana finished with match figures of 7 for 137, the best by an Indian woman on Test debut.
India needed 75 runs to win the match but lost opener Shafali Verma in the first over after the aggressive batter had struck Kim Garth for a boundary a few balls earlier. Garth got the next delivery to hold its line and Shafali edged it to Alyssa Healy behind the stumps.
Richa Ghosh, who came in at number three, had a few nervy moments as she survived a close call for a catch at slip and a run-out chance. She also benefited from some sloppy fielding by the Australians, who conceded four byes and a boundary off misfields.
Smriti Mandhana, however, was in sublime touch as she hit back-to-back fours off Kim Garth in the second over — a fine cover drive across the turf for the first and a slap through the covers off a short and wide delivery for the second boundary. She continued to play her shots and reached her second fifty of the match in 49 balls.
Richa Ghosh also grew in confidence and supported Mandhana well, as the duo added an unbeaten 74-run stand for the second wicket. Mandhana finished the match with a six-over long-on off Ashleigh Gardner, as India reached 75 for 2 in 18.4 overs. Mandhana remained unbeaten on 58 off 64 balls, while Ghosh was not out on 14 off 38 balls.
India celebrated their historic win with joy and jubilation, as they hugged each other and posed for the cameras. Sneh Rana was named the player of the match for her all-round performance. India also gained four points in the multi-format series, which comprises three ODIs and three T20Is as well. The first ODI will be played at the same venue on December 28.