Phoebe Litchfield and Ellyse Perry.
Phoebe Litchfield and Ellyse Perry have both scored 50s as Australia set India 259 for an ODI win. Image by AP PHOTO
  • cricket

Australia beat India by three runs to seal ODI series

Steve Barrett December 31, 2023

Australia have absorbed Deepti Sharma’s historic five-wicket haul and Richa Ghosh’s batting masterclass to notch a nailbiting, series-clinching three-run win over India in the second women’s one-day international in Mumbai.

After a bungling, butterfingered fielding display from India allowed Australia to post 8-258, the hosts looked well on track in their reply at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) before faltering late to finish on 8-255.

The win ensures Australia maintain their record of never having lost a bilateral women’s ODI series to India after moving to an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match rubber.

Annabel Sutherland (3-47) took all of her wickets in her telling spell at the death, including the key scalp of Ghosh on 96 when India were cruising at 4-218.

After India were left to rue seven grassed chances, Australia’s catching was similarly slipshod with Ghosh given lives on nought (by Phoebe Litchfield) and 36 (by Sutherland) before her majestic knock ended, caught Litchfield, bowled Sutherland.

With 22 required off the last three overs, Sutherland took 1-3 off the 48th and Ash Gardner 1-3 in the 49th to put the chase, suddenly, beyond India’s reach.

India's Deepti Sharma, centre
 India’s Deepti Sharma (c) took 5-38 but all in vain as they lost to Australia in Mumbai. Image by AP PHOTO 

Tahlia McGrath dropped a soda in the 50th over to deny Sutherland a fourth wicket, reprieving debutant Shreyanka Patil, whose last-ball four proved academic.

“All the way, we held our nerve as much as possible,” player-of-the-match Sutherland said.

“It was pretty cool to have the chance to do that at the end.

“Nice that Midgey (captain Alyssa Healy) had faith in me and I was able to do the job.”

After the early loss of Yastika Bhatia (14), fellow opener Smriti Mandhana, whose absence through illness hurt India in the series opener, fashioned a typically classy 34 before lofting legspinner Alana King’s second ball to McGrath in the deep.

In-form Jemimah Rodrigues (44) added 88 for the third wicket before falling to a superb catch from a diving Litchfield.

Ghosh was hampered by cramps but when she finally departed, so did India’s hopes of levelling the series.

Earlier, Sharma became the first Indian bowler to collect a five-wicket haul against Australia in women’s ODIs.

Sharma extracted prodigious turn to snare 5-38, piloting the tourists’ demise from 1-117 to 8-219 before King’s cameo 28no, combined with India’s shoddy fielding, boosted Australia’s final total.

Litchfield (63) was dropped by Amanjot Kaur with the second ball of the match and again on 16 by Bhatia, a sitter at slip.

Litchfield made the Indians pay, putting on 77 for the second wicket with fellow game one hero Ellyse Perry (50).

Litchfield became Patil’s maiden ODI scalp when she feathered a sharp-turning off break to wicketkeeper Ghosh.

Sharma trapped Beth Mooney (10) lbw before bowling in-form McGrath (24).

Sharma removed Georgia Wareham (22), chipping to Mandhana, before dismissing Sutherland (23) caught-and-bowled for her fifth.

King, who overturned an out lbw decision first ball and was dropped on eight by Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, made the most of her reprieves to hand momentum back to Australia.