IND-W vs AUS-W Test: Mithali Raj curious and eager to play first pink-ball Test, says ‘Confident of good performance’

India skipper Mithali Raj is “curious” to see what the pink ball does, especially in the twilight period, as the women’s team goes into its first-ever day-night Test against Australia with only two days of practice.

With the 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Australia and ODI series to follow, the team has got very little time to prepare for the Test, beginning here on Thursday.

India had one day session on Tuesday and will have practice under lights on Wednesday.

“To be very honest. I don’t have the experience of playing with pink ball. It is going to be my first experience as well. I am quite curious to see around that period (twilight) when they say that it’s going to be a little difficult. I can only say, when I experience it,” said Mithali ahead of the landmark fixture.

The pink ball, which has an extra coating of lacquer for retaining shine and visibility, tends to skid more than the red ball and moves a lot under lights.

Though India lost the preceding ODI series 1-2, they were able to break Australia’s 26-match winning steak and fought hard in the second and third game.

Mithali said the team has gained a lot of confidence from that performance.
“The team is definitely confident. Playing the best side before the ODI World Cup is great preparation. I do understand the first game was a bit of flash cricket we played and I really had to have a hard talk with the team and the girls really responded very well.

“We were looking to post a big total that was our target and we did that. “The team is quite excited. It’s a different experience for us to play with the pink ball in a day-night game. Usually, the Test is played in the day and what we played against England was with the red ball. So it is going to be very different,” she said.

In their first Test in almost seven years, India did well to eke out a draw against England.

India and Australia last played a Test in 2006 and Mithali said both teams “have come a long way since then”.

“In the one-day format, we posted good totals. It was a very good and tight series. Overall, women’s cricket globally has come a long way and it is only going to grow.”

Australia have a formidable pace attack despite the absence of a few experienced bowlers. With the emergence of Meghna Singh in ODIs, the Indian pace department has also been bolstered.

“It should be one the best pace attacks Indian team has had – with the experience of Jhulan; young speedster Meghna Singh, her first series has been very impressive; and Pooja Vastrakar, who made a comeback after two years.”

Mithali Raj also emphasized adding at least a Test in every bilateral series or making it a regular feature in a Women’s bilateral series. She said, “This year we had two Test matches, the one we played in England and the second is here in Australia. Playing all three formats will definitely help the players and that’s the feedback I get from most of the players. Every player who is even a part of various leagues loves to play longer format. So, if it becomes a regular thing it will be great for Women’s cricket.”