Lisa Sthalakar has heaped high praise on stylish Indian opener Smriti Mandhana. The former Australian cricketer-turned commentator praised Smriti for her brilliant knock on the opening day of the pink-ball Test in Queensland on Thursday.
On a day that was marred with lightning and rain, Mandhana showcased her glorious stroke play to the hilt. She dazzled her way to a pristine 144-ball 80* to take her side to a commanding position at stumps.
Mandhana smashed her first 50 runs in just 51 balls. Lisa felt that the Australian bowlers were nervous and Smriti pounced on every opportunity they offered.
Sthalekar told CricBuzz:
"It was certainly India's day albeit we did lose about 50 overs due to rain.Smriti Mandhana was excellent at the top. She pounced on everything short and the Australians looked nervous with the ball in hand."
The Women in Blue finished at 132/1 after a spell of lightning and rain ensured that only 44.1 overs were bowled at the end of the day
"It would be really interesting to see what the tactics are from both sides"- Lisa Sthalekar
The tone for India in their maiden pink ball Test was set by their opening duo of Smriti and Shafali Verma. The duo smashed as many as 16 fours in as many overs. They went on to add 93 runs in just 25 overs before Shafali (31 off 64 balls) swiped one across the line against Sophie Molineux.
"Shafali Verma looked ok but it was Smriti Mandhana who was running control. She scored a half-century in that many deliveries (off 51 balls) and they were able to put on a partnership of 93 in just 25 overs. Just shows you how quickly they were scoring," added Sthalekar.
The former Australian cricketer signed off by stating that Mandhana's knock had put the visitors in the box seat. She went on to add that since 50 overs were lost on the opening day, it would be interesting to see the tactics from both sides' in the remaining three days.
"Given the fact that India are 132/1 in the 45th over certainly puts them in a box seat. It would be really interesting to see what the tactics are from both sides given we have lost some overs. Any outcome for India will be exactly they would be looking for."
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The second day will start 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of play and India will hope they continue from where they left off on the opening day.