In the second ODI against Australia, opener Smriti Mandhana hit a fluent 86 to guide India to a competitive 274 for 7 as India batters gave a far better account of themselves. Mandhana hit 11 boundaries to register her 19th half-century after the visitors were sent in to bat. She shared two crucial partnerships -- 76 runs with Richa Ghosh (44) and 74 runs with Shafali Verma (22) -- to help India set up a good total. In the post-match press conference, Mandhana expressed her happiness to be back among the runs.
"I thought about where I need to improve, the support staff and everyone were behind me. So happy to get some runs under my belt, especially in the first innings. Getting out on 86 did hurt. I would have felt better if I had continued," Mandhana said.
India and their premier bowler Jhulan Goswami failed to keep their nerves in a dramatic last over as Beth Mooney's brilliant unbeaten hundred ensured a five-wicket win for Australia -- their 26th on the trot. Mandhana sought to play down the controversy around the no-ball in the final over of the second ODI against Australia which helped the hosts extend their winning streak to 26 matches.
"We have not really seen the ball yet as a team. We were out there on the field, so it is very hard to judge if it was a waist-high no-ball or not. It is too early for us to call, we have to see the ball and we will have a look at it. When these things go in your favour, you are really happy but would not add up to the controversy. I have seriously not looked at the ball yet," Mandhana said.
"The pacers were really good. It was a perfect game for us until the last 20 overs. Our pacers used the bouncers really well. They will definitely be looking forward to the pink ball (Test), but our eyes are on the third ODI. When the dew comes in, our spinners look different, it is very hard to grip the ball. But that cannot be an excuse. As I said, these are things we have practised, we knew there will be dew. The dew was a big factor," she added.
Asked about the Indian players dropping a few chances, Mandhana said there was scope for improvement in all departments. "Yeah, definitely, there is scope for improvement in all the departments. Batting, bowling and fielding. Fielding, I thought we were good in patches, but definitely, we can work a lot on our fielding. We have been working hard for the last three years. It is a process. In today's game, fielding could have been a little better. Dropped catches always hurt and Beth Mooney's catch did hurt," she added.