India v Australia: women’s one-off Test, day three – as it happened | Australia women\’s cricket team

Key events

And that’s it from us. I’ll see you tomorrow for a 4am start on what promises to be a cracking day’s Christmas Eve cricket. Thanks for the messages, have a wonderful day.

Australia’s scoring was careful – at 3.8, 2.8 and 1.9 in the three sessions – but notch by notch they knocked off those runs and started to build a lead. 46 at the moment – another 100 and I wouldn’t bet against them. Another 80 perhaps. Runs all the way down the order, with Perry outstanding for her 45 and McGrath fighting her way through a tricky period for a hugely valuable 73. Healy played nicely for 32 till she was Harmanpreeted. India wheeled away in the field and the new ball in the hand of Vastrakar is singing “crucial” tomorrow.

Shelley Nitschke, Australia coach, is handed the microphone: “Our batting was more what we wanted it to be at today. Look I think, regardless of the lead, we’ll have to bowl really well. If we get up (the lead up to) 150-200 we’re right in this game, though we know how well they bat in home conditions.”

Stumps: Australia 233-5 lead India by 46 runs

90th over: Australia 233-5 ( Sutherland 12, Gardner 7) Time for one over of Pooja Vastrakar hustle. Ooof: the fourth ball barely bounces and Gardner just jams her bat down in time. An lbw appeal off the last – safe – and that is stumps on an intriguing day.

In a recent media interaction, Australia captain Alyssa Healy described India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur as “the ultimate competitor”.

Feature will be out tomorrow 🗓️

— Annesha Ghosh (@ghosh_annesha) December 23, 2023

89th over: Australia 231-5 ( Sutherland 11, Gardner 6) Penultimate over. Three dots – and then, in a final twist, with nine balls to go, they take the new ball. Rana flights the shiny new cherry, Sutherland defends. A maiden.

88th over: Australia 231-5 ( Sutherland 11, Gardner 6) Harmanpreet reviews an lbw decision, but by the time they’ve gathered to watch the replay they’re all laughing. But actually it is closer than it looks, hits her on the thigh and is umpire’s call. India hold onto their review. On comms they despair that Harmanpreet doesn’t bowl more.

87th over: Australia 230-5 ( Sutherland 9, Gardner 6) We continue with the old ball. Floodlights on now, short leg crouches. The last is an arm ball that goes straight through.

86th over: Australia 229-5 ( Sutherland 9, Gardner 6) Harmanpreet, shirt untucked, rubs the ball furiously on her sleeve. Lovely drift for the first three then Gardner tucks into some flighted filth.

85th over: Australia 225-5 ( Sutherland 9, Gardner 2) Another maiden for Rajeshwari. Five overs to go.

84th over: Australia 223-5 ( Sutherland 9, Gardner 1) Anyone looking for some Christmas aggression under the tree, still time to buy a bottle of Eau de Harmanpreet.

83rd over: Australia 223-5 ( Sutherland 9, Gardner 1) Oooh, a fair dinkum ripper fizzes past Sutherland’s outstretched bat from Rajeshwari. A maiden.

Hello Geoff Wignall! “I’m only following the match in bits and pieces as the Portuguese montane winter is temporarily gorgeous” (sound idyllic) “but I was wondering what total you reckon India would get happy to chase? Up to 250? Does it look like being a decent fourth innings wicket or a difficult one?

“Australia still have an obviously long way to go to post something competitive, but just how far?”

The pitch is starting to rip and turn. Throw in a nutcracker of pressure… I reckon 150 could be tricky…The current lead is 36.

82nd over: Australia 223-5 ( Sutherland 9, Gardner 1) Some sloppy cricket all round, as the Australians complete a yes, no, yes, no dance between the wickets and India somehow fail to run them out.

81st over: Australia 221-5 ( Sutherland 8, Gardner 0) A maiden from Rajeshwari.

80th over: Australia 221-5 ( Sutherland 8, Gardner 0) Actually the ball didn’t ricochet off Healy’s elbow, but her bat as she angled it in self defence from the fired-in throw. Harmanpreet didn’t cover herself in glory there. Who knows if that unsettled Healy, but she fell next ball. Huge wicket for India.

WICKET! Healy lbw Harmanpreet 32 (Australia 221-5)

So much going on here! The ball before, Harmanpreet had hurled the ball back at Healy and hit her on the elbow before the ball ricochetted off for four overthrows. Teetering the line of acceptable aggression that. Next ball, Healy goes for the sweep and is hit on the front pad. Given out on the field, Healy reviews, but the decision remains.

79th over: Australia 216-4 ( Healy 28, Sutherland 7) Oh dear. Healy dropped twice in the over at silly point. The first very difficult, the second less so, but Rodrigues can’t hold onto either. One bangs her on the shoulder, the other through her hands.

78th over: Australia 216-4 ( Healy 28, Sutherland 7) A boundary! A fine sweep by Sutherland zips away to the boundary as Harmanpreet drifts legside. Next ball Sutherland gets an inside edge onto the pad.

77th over: Australia 209-4 ( Healy 27, Sutherland 1) More slow accumulation, just one off Rajeshwari and the new ball approaches. Could really do with this Test stretching into five days – feel it deserves it.

76th over: Australia 209-4 ( Healy 27, Sutherland 1) Harmanpreet, who feels like the danger woman at the moment, continues. Sutherland picks up a single off her 15th ball.

75th over: Australia 208-4 ( Healy 27, Sutherland 0) A Rajeshwari maiden. The lead 22.

74th over: Australia 208-4 ( Healy 27, Sutherland 0) Harmanpreet has another lbw shout given out on the field –but overturned on review. Sutherland saved by the ball missing leg. Healy grins. The umps struggling a little with lbws in this game.

73rd over: Australia 206-4( Healy 25, Sutherland 0) Oh gosh, a missed lbw review by India, Sutherland sweeps, misses and the tv pictures show it would have been out. Rajeshwari misses out on her first wicket.

Drinks – Australia, 206-4, lead by 19

72 overs: Australia 206-4( Healy 25, Sutherland 0) Harmanpreet comes into the attack and immediately strikes… or does she? McGrath given out lbw on the field but she reviews straight away and DRS shows it missing leg stump. Indian joy evaporates in the pop of a balloon. But not for long! The big one as McGrath is flummoxed through the gate and the 66-run stand comes to an end.

WICKET! McGrath b Harmanpreet 73 (Australia 206-4)

Inside edge onto the stumps! McGrath pushes forward and the ball sneaks off the bat and dribbles into the timber. Harmanpreet takes off in a run of celebration, arms behind her like Concorde.

71st over: Australia 203-3 (McGrath 71, Healy 24) What do you mean this attritional cricket isn’t inspiring you to send me emails? Some impressive quick running between the wickets turns one to two, oof, and then Rajeshwari rips past Healy’s proffered bat.

70th over: Australia 201-3 (McGrath 71, Healy 22) Australia’s captain and vice-captain showing why England’s smash and grab approach to Test batting in India might not have been the best option. Deepti appeals for an lbw outside the line. Harmanpreet’s permanent frown deepens.

69th over: Australia 200-3 (McGrath 70, Healy 22) A Christmas hamper of singles.

68th over: Australia 198-3 (McGrath 69, Healy 21) Deepti flights it up, Australia are not tempted.

This is more a county blog question than a OBO question but can anyone recommend an idiot-proof cinnamon bun recipe? Ambitiously hoping to make some on Christmas eve for Christmas day breakfast.

67th over: Australia 197-3 (McGrath 69, Healy 20) Healy sweeps Rana, without total conviction, and crosses the boundary for the first time. The Indians definitely do NOT want her feeling at home.

Tahlia McGrath and Alyssa Healy have helped Australia take control of the women\’s Test against India. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

66th over: Australia 191-3 (McGrath 68, Healy 15) A Deepti maiden, the Australian lead four. A shame not to see more people in the ground – if you’re in India, is that a surprise? I thought the rarity of women’s Test cricket might bring people in – even if just as a curiosity.

65th over: Australia 191-3 (McGrath 68, Healy 15) Repeat after me: never underestimate the Aussies. McGrath, emboldened, goes for another huge drive – which misses the outside edge by a whisker. The crowd break into some encouraging chants.

Australia take the lead!

64th over: Australia 190-3 (McGrath 68, Healy 14) Australia finding it difficult to pierce the inner ring of Indian fielders. From the bench, the Indian coach urges some umph into proceedings; Harmanpreet claps urgently. Forget completely what I said about piercing the field – three consecutive fierce boundaries from McGrath, one punched through the covers, another cut through point, the last panned dismissively past a diving mid-on. And that brings up the fifty partnership and eats up the deficit. Game on!

63rd over: Australia 178-3 (McGrath 56, Healy 14) McGrath thunders down the pitch, smacks Rajeshwari with some aplomb, but to no reward.

62nd over: Australia 175-3 (McGrath 54, Healy 13) An easy bye off a legside delivery from Renuka. Up flashes a fact box: if India win, it will be their first victory over Australia in Test cricket. Seeming a bit less likely with every passing delivery though. An appeal for lbw, Renuka likes it but Harmanpreet studiously ignores the DRS call. Would have missed leg.

61st over: Australia 173-3 (McGrath 53, Healy 13) Healy scuffs herself settled at the crease. Rajeshwari replaces Deepti, wicketless so far. Bowling wide of the crease. The first jumps past Healy’s outside edge. A single from the sweep.

Alyssa Healy is building patiently for Australia in their second innings of the women\’s Test against India. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

60th over: Australia 172-3 (McGrath 53, Healy 12) The change of pace the game needs: Renuka bustles in, kicking up red dust in her approach. Healy is wary – five dots then a leg bye off a strangled lbw appeal off the last.

59th over: Australia 171-3 (McGrath 53, Healy 12) Momentary joy for the Indians, as McGrath is given out lbw to Deepti – but she immediately reviews and DRS shows bat before pad. Another maiden.

58th over: Australia 171-3 (McGrath 53, Healy 12) Another maiden from Rajeshwari, prod, prod, prod, wear the Indians out.

57th over: Australia 171-3 (McGrath 53, Healy 12) Slowly, imperceptively, the deficit has dropped to 16. Three singles off Deepti.

56th over: Australia 168-3 (McGrath 52, Healy 10) Rajeshwari, black headband, bouncing pony-tail and matching high-step approach. Healy plays and misses at the first and sweeps upishly to the third. “High-risk low reward,” scolds the commentator.

55th over: Australia 167-3 (McGrath 52, Healy 9) A Deepti maiden. I’m thinking maybe time for some Vastrakar?

Fifty for Tahlia McGrath!

54th over: Australia 167-3 (McGrath 52, Healy 9) A modest raise of the bat from McGrath, her second fifty of the match, the first at almost a run a ball, the second a more grinding, thorough, match-clinching effort.

Tahlia McGrath scores a critical fifty for Australia on day three of the women\’s Test against India. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

53rd over: Australia 164-3 (McGrath 49, Healy 9) Deepti sends down an over of full deliveries of variable quality.

52nd over: Australia 160-3 (McGrath 48, Healy 6) Rajeshwari continues and Raf gets in contact. Apparently she is writing a Spin piece on the top women players of 2023 for the Guardian on January 2nd so look out for that! But she chastises me for forgetting Sophie Ecclestone – in my head she’d been injured for ages, but turns out my head is not very reliable.

Evening session

51st over: Australia 158-3 (McGrath 47, Healy 5) Been on a tea-break desperate search for the sellotape/ribbon box for one of my son’s to wrap a secret santa present. Just one from Deepti’s over.

Sorry, Stephen, I’ve got time to answer your question now! I think you’re quite right with Deepti, NSB and Ash Gardner. I’d also throw Laura Woolvardt, Hayley Matthews, Tahlia McGrath and Smriti Mandhana into the mix. But I don’t watch as much women’s cricket as I’d like to. I’ll ask Raf – she’s better placed than me! Oh, and also throwing in a distinguished long-service award to Meg Lanning .

Very open to ideas!

TEA Australia 156-3 trail India by 31 runs

50th over: Australia 156-3 (McGrath 46, Healy 4) Rajeshwari, into the footmarks. Healy beckons McGrath down the pitch to point out something. McGrath cuts, but super fielding by Deepti at point cuts off the run. She cuts again next (short) ball, later, and this time pierces the gap and picks up four. And that, is tea. The session Australia’s, despite the late wicket of Perry.

Tahlia McGrath and Alyssa Healy survive until tea on day three of the women\’s Test between India and Australia. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

49th over: Australia 152-3 (McGrath 42, Healy 4) Deepti rolls up her sleeves and adjusts her trousers; in the ground, chants from what sounds like an enthusiastic group of young girls. Australia playing for the break here.

48th over: Australia 150-3 (McGrath 41, Healy 2) One zips past the outside edge of Healy’s bat as she pushes forward, and rebounds off Yastika’s glove. Rajeshwari whistles through her over. Tricky out there

47th over: Australia 148-3 (McGrath 40, Healy 2) Woman of the moment, Deepti Sharma, takes the ball. Healy chews her gum and surveys the field as Harmanpreet directs this way and that. One from it, with ten minutes till tea.

Tahlia McGrath continues to lead Australia’s second-innings fightback against India on day three of the women’s Test. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

46th over: Australia 146-3 (McGrath 39, Healy 1) Rajeshwari suddenly has mischief in her fingers. McGrath starts the over missing a sweep, finishes the over missing a sweep, bringing four byes.

An email drops in to my inbox with a festive jingle. Hello Stephen Nichols!

“Thanks for all your commentary this year – I’ve really enjoyed reading it. I was wondering who you thought were the best 5 women’s cricketers of the year? Ash Gardner has bowled beautifully in a couple of Tests, Nat S-B was immense earlier in the summer, and Deepti Sharma has been deeply annoying to all her opponents – wickets and runs exactly when her team needed them. Who’s on your list?”

“Merry Christmas to you all” Oooh let me think for a couple of overs, and a very happy Christmas to you too.

45th over: Australia 142-3 (McGrath 39, Healy 1) And another maiden as, click by click, the pressure ratchets up

44th over: Australia 142-3 (McGrath 39, Healy 1) Ooof, suddenly, the ball is full of possibilites, Rajeshwari whistles through a maiden.

43rd over: Australia 142-3 (McGrath 39, Healy 1) The end of a fabulous innings, and a crucial 84-run partnership which has ushered the Aussies towards parity.

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