Litchfield leads India rout as Australia sweep ODI series

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India were bowled out in the 33rd over
India were bowled out in the 33rd over © BCCI

A record opening stand and the highest total against India in Women's ODIs set up Australia's 190-run win in the third match and helped them sweep the series 3-0.

Phoebe Litchfield (119) and Alyssa Healy (82) were involved in a 189-run stand - the highest for the opening wicket against India - before the middle order batters came up with useful contributions to power Australia to 338/7. The pressure of the big chase got to India as they folded for 148 inside 33 overs. Megan Schutt and Georgia Wareham did the bulk of the damage, accounting for the cream of the Indian batting, to star in the massive victory.

After Australia opted to bat, Litchfield and Healy dealt in regular boundaries, with the latter also smashing a straight six off Renuka Singh, as they helped their side off to a steady start. Mannat Kashyap, the debutant, had an expensive start as she was hit for a six and a four in her opening over by Healy while Litchfield meted out the same treatment in her second over. The left-handed opener registered her third successive fifty-plus score and Australia reached 100, both in the 16th over. Litchfield got a lucky break as Deepti Sharma put down a catch at backward point off Amanjot Kaur and India also burnt their reviews going up for leg-before shouts when Healy was on strike. The skipper, meanwhile, crossed fifty and struck her third six, clearing long-on off Shreyanka Patil.

The hosts were running out of answers as the Australian openers went past Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt's 169-run stand in 2021. The stroke of luck finally came for India when Healy under-edged a pull off Pooja Vastrakar and the ball struck her body before hitting the stumps. Ellyse Perry started off her innings positively and was also put down by Smriti Mandhana off Deepti but she couldn't capitalise on it as she was trapped in front by Amanjot. While Litchfield closed in on her second ODI hundred, Australia lost two more wickets as Shreyanka struck off successive deliveries to have both Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath out lbw.

But Australia continued to make good progress as Litchfield marched on, bringing up her second ODI hundred with a straight drive for a four off Amanjot. She added two more fours to her tally to extend it to 16 and put on a quick-fire 40-run stand with Ashleigh Gardner before Deepti ended the 20-year-old's stay, with a leading edge being caught by Harmanpreet Kaur at short cover, as the spinner picked up her 100th ODI wicket. Australia were 256/5 after 40 overs when Litchfield was dismissed and they closed in on the 300 mark thanks to a 39-run partnership between Gardner and Annabel Sutherland. Although both fell in quick succession, Australia ended up posting a big total, with Alana King and Georgia Wareham providing a flourishing finish, including a 19-run final over by Vastrakar.

India began the chase steadily, with Mandhana leading a positive start, but it fell apart rather spectacularly as the innings progressed. Yastika Bhatia was bowled by Megan Schutt attempting a scoop while Mandhana was dismissed for a run-a-ball 29 by the same bowler, finding the fielder at deep extra cover. The introduction of Wareham got Australia more success as she struck off her very first ball to have Harmanpreet glove a sweep to Mooney, who showed good anticipation moving to her left from slip. Wareham also accounted for Richa Ghosh to leave India four down.

Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma tried to steady the ship but their 26-run association came to an end when Gardner got the wicket of the former. King also got amongst the wickets, with the scalps of Amanjot and Vastrakar, before Sutherland struck off successive deliveries. Wareham returned to pick up her third wicket by dismissing Kashyap as India's shambolic batting display ended in the 33rd over.

Brief scores: Australia 338/7 in 50 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 119, Alyssa Healy 82; Shreyanka Patil 3-57) beat India 148 in 32.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 29; Georgia Wareham 3-23, Annabel Sutherland 2-9) by 190 runs.




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