Sports Updates By Newsparviews : Phoebe Litchfield, a promising opener from Australia, had a nightmare start to her India trip when she was run out in the first innings of the one-off Test without having faced a ball. It was only her second Test match, and she was bowled for eighteen when trying a foolish reverse sweep in the second innings. That was, however, the start of the 20-year-old’s incredible return. She led Australia to victory in the first two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and then hammered home her second century in the format at the Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday, helping her side win the series by a commanding 190 runs.In women’s ODI cricket, it was India’s third-heaviest loss.

India lost their home ODI match against Australia for the tenth time in a row, so not a lot of things went right. Once again choosing to bat first, the visitors amassed 338/7, the largest total India has ever conceded in the format, thanks to a 189-run opening partnership between Litchfield (119) and captain Alyssa Healy (82). In response, Harmanpreet Kaur and company were bowled out for 148 in 32.4 overs by Smriti Mandhana, who top-scored with 29.

In the second ODI, Litchfield scored 63 runs thanks to a healthy dose of good fortune, as India’s fielders dropped her three times. But in the third game, she batted with authority, clearly showing the confidence she had garnered from two straight half-centuries. The left-hander batted for more over three hours, hitting sixteen fours and a six throughout her innings. The Gujarat Giants acquired her for ₹1 crore during the Women’s Premier League auction last month.

Healy, who scored 0 and 18 in the opening two One-Day Internationals, got back to his best just in time for the start of the three-match T20I series on Friday. Despite not playing at her most fluid, the right-hander persevered to record her 16th half-century in the ODI format.

As Australia’s cooperation with Litchfield and Healy developed, it appeared they were headed for a much larger total than they ultimately achieved. However, India did a good job of recovering from over No. 29 to 47, taking seven wickets at a cost of 117 runs. The most impressive bowler was a young off-spinner named Shreyanka Patil, who returned with statistics of 3/57 after dismissing Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, and Ash Gardner.

However, similar to the previous game, Australia gained momentum going into the half thanks to spectacular play from Alana King (26* off 14). This time, Pooja Vastrakar was taken for 19, having earlier in the second ODI given up eighteen runs in the final over of the innings. India had a dismal outing with the ball, giving up 20 runs in wides (28 in extras overall).

Thanks to some usually elegant strokeplay by Mandhana, India got off to a quick start in their chase, but after reaching 32 without losing, they lost all 10 wickets for a mere 116 runs. Deepti Sharma, on 25, stayed unbeaten while Richa Ghosh (19) and Jemimah Rodrigues (25), both of whom got off to a bad start, were unable to finish.

The removal of India’s captain Harmanpreet was possibly the biggest letdown with the bat. After scoring 9 and 5 in the opening two One-Day Internationals, the 34-year-old was out for 3 this time while executing a planned sweep stroke. She moved early enough to set up a lap sweep so Mooney could run across from first slip to leg slip and make the catch. In her last seven one-day innings, the right-hander has only managed to score 92 runs, five of which have been single-digit totals.

In the field, however, Litchfield also made a spectacular one-handed catch to remove Amanjot Kaur, stealing the show. Georgia Wareham, a leg-spinner with 3/23, was Australia’s best bowler.


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