Hobart : Skipper Mithali Raj led from the front with an 89-run knock to save the Indian women’s cricket team from a whitewash by guiding it to a comfortable five-wicket in the third and final ODI against Australia here on Sunday.
The Indians, having already surrendered the series by losing the first two matches, managed to end the tour on a positive note with today’s consolation victory. Electing to bat after winning the toss, the Australian team lost a couple of early wickets before half-centuries by Elyse Perry (50) and Alex Blackwell (60) helped the team post 231/7 in their 50 overs.
Blackwell’s 60 from 64 balls was noteworthy given that Australia’s strong batting line-up struggled to score freely in the face of a disciplined bowling display from India. Perry, on the other hand, took 91 deliveries to reach her milestone. For India, Shikha Pandey snared 3 for 50 in her 10 overs, while Rajeshwari Gayakwad also picked up a couple of wickets for 41. In reply, the Indians were off to a solid start with in- form opener Smriti Mandhana striking a 52-ball 55. Mandhana partnered Mithali in a 58-runs second-wicket stand which set the tone for a smooth chase.
During her 112-ball stay, Mithali struck 12 fours and set the platform for Harmanpreet Kaur (22) and Poonam Raut (24 not out) to steer India home in 47 overs. For Australia, Perry was the most successful bowler with figures of 2/50 in 10 overs. Before the ODIs, the Indian eves had notched up a historic 2-1 Twenty20 series triumph over the hosts.
Brief Scores: Australia Women: 231/7 in 50 overs (Alex Blackwell 60, Elyse Perry 50, Shikha Pandey 3/50). India Women: 234/5 in 47 overs (Mithali Raj 89, Elyse Perry 2/50).