Bolton, spinners set up Australia’s crushing win over India

Bolton’s fourth ODI hundred ensured Australia reached a modest 201-run target in just 32.1 overs. The experienced Ellyse Perry (25 not out) hit the winning four.

Australia was never in any sort of difficulty during the chase with Bolton anchoring the innings.   -  Vijay Soneji

Revenge is best served cold, even on an insanely hot day. On a day when the temperature hovered near 40-degrees Celsius, Australia avenged its stunning loss to India at the Women’s World Cup last year in splendid fashion.

It won the first of the three-match ODI series by eight wickets with almost 18 overs to spare. It was indeed a comprehensive a performance by the Women in Yellow at the Reliance Cricket Stadium here on Monday. They adapted well to the conditions and made better use of the wicket, with both bat and ball, than the host.

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After the spinners — with considerable assistance from the home batswomen — bowled India out for a modest total on what was a good surface to bat, opener Nicole Bolton scored a splendid, unbeaten 100 (101b, 12x4) to take her side home without any trouble whatsoever.

She paced her innings intelligently, ensured that her team was always way ahead of the asking rate and did not allow herself to be upset by the mix-up that led to the run-out of her skipper Meg Lanning, who was making a comeback after eight months following an injury. Bolton used her feet well, swept with great effect and was particularly severe on square of the wicket against an Indian attack that never threatened.

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She put on 60 for the opening wicket with wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy, 68 with Lanning for the second and 74 for the unfinished third with Elysse Perry. It was indeed more of a one batswoman show.

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The morning session, though, belonged to two Aussie women. Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen and leggie Amanda-Jade Wellington took seven wickets between them. Their job was made easier though by the Indians, who chose to bat after stand-in captain Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss.

There was lot to cheer about for the large number of spectators, many of whom were women, as openers Punam Raut and Smriti Mandhana put on some attractive runs in brisk fashion. With skipper Mithali Raj, the batting mainstay, unable to make the squad because of suspected viral fever, it was important somebody at the top of the order played a long innings. Nobody did.

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It was left to a spirited effort from Pooja Vastrakar, in only her second ODI, to give respectability to the innings. Coming in at 113 for seven, she made 51 (56b, 7x4, 1x6) and raised 76 for the eighth wicket with ‘keeper Sushma Verma (41). It wasn’t a memorable day for another Indian teenager, though. Seventeen-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues, about whom much is expected, could make only one, batting at one drop on her debut.

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