India stand tall to take the honours in day-night draw

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India 377 for 8 dec and 135 for 3 dec (Shafali 52, Raut 41*) draw with Australia 241 for 9 dec (Perry 68*, Gardner 51, Vastrakar 3-49) and 36 for 2

Fifteen years elapsed before the pink-ball Test pitted Australia against India again in the longest format. A fixture that kicked off with Meg Lanning winning her fourth consecutive toss of the multi-format series and sending the visitors in on Carrara Oval’s drop-in surface, witnessed three declarations, two on the final day alone, as the curtains came down on India’s astonishingly remarkable debut in day-night Tests, stretching their unbeaten streak in multi-day cricket to six matches.

The debate whether women’s Tests should have a fifth day, as was the bone of contention during and after the riveting England-India drawn Test earlier this year, gathered further topicality in the wake of rain eating into the bulk of the overs on the first two days. With only one Test in the women’s game ever having been a five-day fixture and seven out of 142 women’s Tests ever having had three declarations, as opposed to six out of 2,433 in men’s Tests, the debate for an additional day will likely rage on as Australia gear up to host England for the multi-format Ashes early next year.

India, for their part, can only play the guessing game, as they did through the seven years until June when they remained absent from longest format, as to when they might put on the whites again. Equally, whether they’ll see their captain, Mithali Raj, and Jhulan Goswami, their standout bowler from the pink-ball fixture in which her battle with opener Alyssa Healy lit up the last two evenings, take the field again in a Test match remains anybody’s guess.

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