India’s superstar opener Smriti Mandhana confessed that playing a day-night Test match was beyond belief to her until it was announced that India will play a pink-ball Test match with Australia in the coming Australian summer.
“Frankly, when I used to watch day-night Tests of men, I actually never felt that I will be able to experience this moment – it’s wrong to say ‘I’ at the moment – that the Indian team will be able to experience the moment,” Mandhana told ESPNcricinfo.
“So, when it got declared, I was like, ‘Oh, wow. That’s going to be crazy.'”
The day-night test match is a part of a series in which all the three formats, i.e., Test, One-Day, T20 matches will be played. The test is scheduled to be played at the WACA Ground in Perth, which was the first-ever venue to host a match between Indian Women and Australian Women, a test match which was played in the year 1977.
The pink-ball Test will be India’s first 4-day match fixture (standard length of a women’s test match) against Australia since 2006. This would be India’s second Test match this year, the first will be played against England next month (June 2021) in Bristol.
“I remember playing my first day-night one-day or T20 match,” Mandhana said. “I was pretty excited, like a small kid. I was like, ‘Wow, we’ll be able to play a day-night match and all of that.”
“Now that we are going to play a day-night match, [we have] lots of things to work on but [there’s a] lot of excitement…excitement about being part of a day-night Test match, and that too in Australia, against Australia; it’s always a good challenge. It’s going to be a great moment for the Indian women’s cricket team.”
The 24-year-old Smriti Mandhana has represented India in 2 Test matches, 51 One-Day Internationals, and 75 T20 Internationals so far. She became the first-ever cricketer to hit 10 consecutive fifty-plus scores in ODI cricket while chasing. She has scored 50+ runs in every ODI chase starting from 2018. Both the Test matches that Mandhana has played took place in the year 2014. One was against England and the other was against South Africa, both of which India won.
When asked about the lack of familiarity with the pink ball and if it could be a concern for the Indian team going into Australia, Mandhana said that the focus at the moment is the first test match against England starting June 16.
“It’s too early at the moment,” she said. “It’s just going to be a process. You have to get adapted to it. It’s too early for us to start the pink-ball preparations because the match is three-four months later. At the moment it’s more about the England Test match, the Duke’s ball, and all of that stuff, so let’s see.”
Mandhana was placed at the top of the contract list which was recently announced by BCCI with a Grade A Category contract.
The first-ever day-night test match was played between England and Australia Men’s side from 27 to 1 December 2015 at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, which the Aussies won. While men have played 16 pink ball test matches over the last 6 years, the women have played only one. England women and Australian women were the first-ever participants to compete in a day-night test match in women’s cricket. The match was played from 9 to 12 November 2017 and resulted in a draw.