Litchfield Drives Australia to Victory


Litchfield’s stylish 119 and Healy’s commanding 82 propelled Australia to a formidable 338 for 7 setting a new record for the highest total against India…reports Asian Lite News

Phoebe Litchfield and skipper Alyssa Healy raised 189 runs for the opening wicket as Australia Women posted their highest total of 338/7 against India and then dismissed the hosts for 148 to win the third and final ODI by a massive 190 runs for a 3-0 clean sweep at the Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday.

Litchfield’s stylish 119 and Healy’s commanding 82 propelled Australia to a formidable 338 for 7 setting a new record for the highest total against India in this format breaking the previous record of 332 for 7 back in 2018.

In reply, the Indian innings failed to get going, succumbing to scoreboard pressure as well as some good bowling by Georgia Wareham (3-23), Annabel Sutherland (2-9), Alana King (2-21) and Megan Schutt (2-23) as the hosts were bowled out for 148 in 32.4 overs for one of their worst defeats to the ODI World Cup winners.

Yastika Bhatia (6) and Smriti Mandhana (29) raised 32 runs for the opening wicket but both of them departed in quick succession. Richa Ghosh, who struck 96 runs in the second ODI as India lost by three runs, got out for 19 as India slumped to 57/3.

Jemimah Rodrigues (25) and Deepti Sharma (25 not out) pushed the score, but six batters failed to even reach double figures as the hosts came up with a poor display with the bat. Annabel Sutherland claimed two wickets off successive deliveries in the 30th over as India slumped to 135/9.

Earlier, Litchfield’s left-handed elegance, coupled with her effortless footwork, brought a touch of class to the innings.

The young sensation crafted a splendid 119 off 125 balls, a stark contrast to her previous knock of 63 in the second match. Her second ODI hundred was a masterclass in precision, featuring an array of boundaries -– 16 fours and a six. The Healy-Litchfield partnership dictated terms for 29 overs, maintaining a run-rate of around six as Australia eyed a total of 350 at one stage.

Healy, assuming captaincy from Meg Lanning on this tour, showcased a positive start with her first half-century as a full-time captain. Her 82 not only rekindled her batting form after a lean 2023 but also etched her name in history as the highest individual score for a wicketkeeper-captain in women’s ODIs.

The Healy-Litchfield partnership of 189-run also itched name is the history surpassing South African women Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvardt’s 169-run partnership in 2021. The dynamic duo targeted debutant left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap, denting her confidence early in the innings. Kashyap, replacing all-rounder Sneh Rana, faced the brunt of Healy and Litchfield’s onslaught, conceding 23 off her initial two overs.

The Indian bowling attack, led by Shreyanka Patil, made a spirited comeback, claiming key wickets. Patil, in only her second ODI, showcased variations in pace and tight lines, finishing with figures of 3 for 57. From an imposing 189 for no loss, Australia stumbled to 223 for 4, showcasing the resilience of the Indian bowlers. Despite the setbacks, Australia managed to surpass the 300-run mark in the death overs, thanks to impactful cameos from Ashleigh Gardner, Georgia Wareham, and Alana King. King, in particular, punished Vastrakar with two sixes and a four in the final over, finishing unbeaten on 26 off 14.

However, India’s fielding woes continued, with two more dropped catches adding to the tally of ten in this series.

Brief scores:

Australia Women 338/7 in 50 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 119, Alyssa Healy 82, Ashleigh Gardner 30; Shreyanka Patil 3-57, Amanjot Kaur 2-70) beat India Women 148 all out in 32.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 29, Jemimah Rodrigues 25, Deepti Sharma 24 not out; Georgia Wareham 3-23, Annabel Sutherland 2-9) by 190 runs.

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