India women vs South Africa women: Mithali Raj's team eyes series lead

After losing the series-opener by eight wickets, Indian women crushed South Africa by nine wickets to draw parity in the five-match ODI series.

Indian cricketers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues at the training session in Lucknow.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

With the five-match series level 1-1, India and South Africa will strive to defy the conditions in the third One-Day International at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium here on Friday.

‘Hard to score in the morning, and tough to take wickets in the afternoon’, has been the trend so far.

India women vs South Africa women - 2nd ODI: Jhulan, Smriti steer India to series-levelling win

The challenge

The challenge would be putting up a competitive total, as the moist conditions in the morning have compelled captains to opt to bowl. The early moisture and the heat later in the day are distinct factors dictating the flow of the matches.

With a lot more discipline in shot selection, the Indian team looks to be better equipped to handle the situation, even though South Africa may also be entertaining similar thoughts.

'An absolute team effort' - Jhulan Goswami on India women's team's victory against South Africa

The return of medium-pacer Mansi Joshi, in place of the gentle left-arm pace of Monica Patel, and the nippy bowling of the tall Jhulan Goswami has lent a menacing look to the Indian attack.

While the second match saw the ball swing appreciably in the morning, there could be some spin in the strip to be rolled out for the third match.

South Africa captain Sune Luus was quoted as saying that the team could come up with a better performance by handling the first 10 or 15 overs with more caution.

Laying the foundation

That is one point the Indian team has grasped quickly, after having let the momentum slip in the first one-dayer — establishing a good foundation.

While left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad has been able to make an impact, Harmanpreet Kaur is capable of better purchase than what she has managed so far.

South Africa has to find a way to score runs once the openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt — they put on 169 in the first ODI — are out. Luus and Lara Goodall have done well, but a lot more is required to make a contest of it.

It will be interesting to see how the match unfolds.

Teams (from): India women: Mithali Raj (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, D Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C Prathyusha, Monica Patel.

South Africa women: Sune Luus (captain), Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunnicliffe, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune.

Match starts at 9 am

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