Pooja Vastrakar, Jemimah Rodrigues efforts not enough as India fall short

While the spin duo had to toil for wickets in the second innings, Vastrakar bowled 16 overs and took the wicket of debutant Annerie Derecksen.
Pooja Vastrakar went wicketless in the first innings of the Test match against South Africa at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Pooja Vastrakar went wicketless in the first innings of the Test match against South Africa at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

CHENNAI: Pooja Vastrakar went wicketless in the first innings of the Test match against South Africa at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Off-spinners Sneh Rana and Deepti Sharma shared 10 wickets between them, which was expected to happen on the spin-friendly pitch. While the spin duo had to toil for wickets in the second innings, Vastrakar bowled 16 overs and took the wicket of debutant Annerie Derecksen. For someone who dominated the previous two Tests with the bat and ball, the Test at Chepauk was a sub-par affair.

By the time she came back for her second spell, South Africa was cruising at 8.73 runs per over and India desperately needed a breakthrough. Despite Brits and Marizaane Kapp completing their half-centuries in Vastrakar’s third over with a boundary, she drew a top edge from Brits only for Richa Ghosh to drop a dolly. That was the only expensive over (14 runs) Vastrakar bowled. She eventually finished with 4-0-23-2 as South Africa posted 189/4. It proved to be enough despite the fighting fifty from Jemimah Rodrigues as the Proteas registered a 12-run win.

In the first women's fixture at the venue since South Africa played in 2016, where most bowlers went for runs, Vastrakar's feat looks especially impressive. "The white ball game is shorter and it is mostly a momentum-based game. If the bowlers are in good momentum, they will make the most of it. There is a chance to make a comeback in red-ball cricket, you don't have that luxury in shorter formats. Technically she is very sound as a bowler, so you can expect her to turn up," Vastrakar's childhood coach, Ashutosh Shrivastava had said. If we have to go by what the coach had said, we have more to look forward to from the all-rounder.

Brief scores: SA 189/4 in 20 ovs (Brits 81, Kapp 57; Pooja 2/23,) bt India 177/4 in 20 ovs (Jemimah Rodrigues 53, Smriti Mandhana 47)

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