This effort extended India’s first-innings lead to 157, reaching a total of 376/7 in response to Australia’s 219. Notable contributions came from Smriti Mandhana (74), Jemimah Rodrigues (73), and debutant Richa Ghosh (52).
India faced a setback, losing four quick wickets for a mere 14 runs, providing an advantage to Australia. However, Deepti and Vastrakar’s determined stand thwarted the visitors’ momentum.
Australia employed eight bowling options, with Ashleigh Gardner (4/100) being the most impactful. Gardner, the right-arm off-spinner, posed a consistent threat with her probing line and lengths, claiming crucial wickets.
Despite Australia’s efforts, India regained control with the standout partnership between Deepti and Vastrakar. The duo was on the verge of setting a new record for the best eighth-wicket stand for India Women when play concluded for the day.
While Deepti cracked nine fours to make 70 not out off 147 balls, it was Vastrakar whose ascend as one of India’s dependable players continued.
Having returned figures of 4/53 on the first day, Vastrakar reached 33 not out from 115 balls with four boundaries.
However, the highlight of the day was youngsters Ghosh (52) and Rodrigues (73) taking apart the Australian bowlers with disdain, putting on 113 runs for the side’s second-best partnership for the fourth wicket.
In her maiden outing with the bat in Tests, Ghosh put on a fine show of attack and resilience alike, cracking seven fours in her 104-ball innings while producing strokes on both the sides of the pitch.
But Ghosh also had Ellyse Perry to thank who spilled a sitter at mid-off when the Indian batter mistimed one off Gardner having reached 14.
However, she became the 14th Indian batter to score a fifty on debut, joining Rodrigues and Shubha Satheesh to have done so in the span of last 10 days or so.
Rodrigues displayed her control and finesse especially with the sweep shot, collecting a majority of her runs (63 per cent) on the leg side while making a fine 73 off 121 balls with nine hits to the fence.
Notching up a second consecutive fifty in as many Tests, Rodrigues appeared primed for a maiden century too but she had only herself to blame after hitting one straight to Annabel Sutherland at extra cover off Gardner.
With the pitch providing variable bounce, each of the Indian batters who got runs showcased immaculate approach in anticipating the bounce and trusting their defence, which was not the case for a few others.
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur (0) lasted for only two balls as she was slow to react to a delivery from Gardner which kept low and struck her pads in front of the leg stump.
India slipped further and lost the advantage when Yastika Bhatia (1) seemed to have committed herself too early into the shot to miss a sweep off Gardner and was adjudged leg-before.
Earlier in the day, overnight batters Mandhana and Sneh Rana (9) brought up their 50-run stand for the second wicket before Gardner cleaned up the latter.
Smriti was also lucky as an outside edge off Garner flew past the diving Beth Mooney at the first slip.
But there was heartbreak for Mandhana when she was run out, having danced down the track and hitting to backward point looking for a single.
Mandhana was a little hesitant but seeing her partner Ghosh sprinting from the other end, she made a dash but fell short when the stumps were broken by Gardner while collecting a quick throw from Kim Garth.
The Indian vice-captain made 74 off 106 balls with 12 fours.
(With PTI Inputs)