Smriti Mandhana’s flowing drives, Jhulan Goswami’s impeccable line-and-length, Meghna Singh’s swing,Punam Raut’s bold decision to walk… India’s women cricketers ensured that their first outing with a pink ball under lights was a memorable one.

Lightning and rain may have forced the one-off Day/Night Test to end in a draw at Carrara on Sunday, but the Indians did remarkably well to dominate a formidable Australian team from the opening hour. Captain Mithali Raj called it one of India’s best performances in a Test.

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It certainly was. The Aussies were forced to chase the game throughout after Meg Lanning won the toss and asked India to bat first.

Mithali’s women would have been in a great position to press for a win had there been no rain. Replying to India’s 377 for eight (declared), the host was in the danger of a follow-on, which was averted by a resolute unbeaten 68 off 203 balls by the magnificent Ellyse Perry.

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The Indians put an end to Australia’s stunning streak of 26 ODI wins. They took that momentum to the Test match The girls are not used to the red-ball format, leave alone the pink ball. The Test against England at Bristol in June was their first in seven years.

Unlike the Test in Carrara, the Indians had to play catch-up in England. They did that in some style. Following on, debutants Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia’s unbroken 104-run stand for the ninth wicket helped India snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. Mithali said India could take away a lot of positives from the Tests against England and Australia.

“Sneh, Taniya and Deepti Sharma did well in England,” she said. “In Australia, Smrti’s hundred was fabulous. All our seamers bowled well, too. Along with Jhulan, the two young seamers (Meghna and Pooja Vastrakar) stood up.”

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