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IND vs SA: Sune Luus, Laura Wolvaardt Shine After Sneh Rana’s Record Spell For India

On Sunday, during the third day of the one-off Test match between India and South Africa in Chennai, Sune Luus spearheaded the country’s comeback, hitting 109 runs off 203 balls. On Sunday, the visitors were 232/2 in the second innings, 105 runs behind India. In the first innings, they were bowled out for 266 while chasing India’s 603 for six.

Their downfall was accelerated by the lethal eight-for-seven score of off-spinner Sneh Rana. Nevertheless, Luus (109 off 203 balls) and captain Laura Wolvaardt (93 off 252 balls) gave SA some resistance in their second essay.

South Africa was 232 for 2 in their second innings at third-day stumping, with Luus reaching her first-ever Test century and Wolvaardt still undefeated at 93. To force a tie in the game, South Africa will be hoping for more of the same on the fourth and final day.

Sneh Rana’s brilliant bowling on a pitch with more spin gave her five wickets, to go with three from Saturday, in an exciting first session for India on a foggy morning. Her statistics were 8 for 77. South Africa began the day with 236 for 4 but lost six wickets for 30 runs.

After levelling the score at 236 for four the previous night, Marizanne Kapp (74) and Nadine de Klerk (39) lost the lead quickly against Rana. After Kapp was removed from the game, the Proteas were bundled out in the next 17 runs. Deepti Sharma and Rana completed the task without difficulty.

In the history of Women’s Test cricket for India, Rana’s stats rank second only to record-holder Neetu David’s eight for 53 against England in Jamshedpur in 1995. Rana now has the third-best Test innings total; Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner (8 for 66) is the player who comes before her.

With the South Africans lingering by 337 runs, the Indians were obliged to follow on. With just 16 runs scored, Anneke Bosch got entangled leg-before-for-nine by Deepti. The South Africans felt then that the end was near.

But Wolvaardt and Luus came together to put the hosts under pressure. At the lunch break, the visitors were down 29 to 1, but they continued to bat without letting up until the tea break, bringing SA up to 124 to 1. When their partnership reached over 138 at the tea break, it also became the biggest stand made by the tourists in a Test match against India.

Luus, meanwhile, reached her first Test century, becoming the second South African player to do so after Mignon du Preez (102) in Mysore in 2014. When the score was 206 for two, Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur eventually broke the 190-run partnership and removed Luus.

In the afternoon session, South Africa vowed to play the long game, and they were successful; they reached tea at 124 for 1 after scoring 95 runs in 34 overs. After reaching 65 off 164 balls in the first innings, Luus maintained his form and demeanour, finishing the second session with 64 off 121 balls.

In the second dig, Wolvaardt made greater use of the depth of the crease after being trapped lbw to a maintained low shot by Rana during the first innings. She drove the bigger deliveries to long-on and drew short deliveries through square legs.

Harmanpreet Kaur attempted to break the stand with as many as seven bowlers, including herself, as India worked hard to do so. However, they lacked self-control in terms of their lengths and speeds. Maybe they were unaccustomed to spending so much time in the centre.

During the final two overs of the day, Deepti also failed to make two catches, which both benefited Kapp. The first was a simple return catch, while the second was a slip off a delivery from Rana that Kapp edged.

However, Wolvaardt and Luus benefited from their perseverance on a pitch that slowed down following the first session. Harmanpreet ultimately broke the enormous stand when she dismissed Luus in the 74th over.

When Luus attempted to pull again but failed, the low bounce saved her. With Kapp on the other end, Wolvaardt continued, winning handily. This has increased expectations for a South African lead on the last day, which at the beginning of Sunday seemed improbable.

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Dipak Kumar Gupta
Dipak Kumar Gupta
A Journalist and Writer by profession from Kolkata, Dipak is an avid and ardent admirer and supporter of the arena of Women's Cricket which has proved itself a massive powerhouse in the world of cricket and this urge to contribute to the sphere has been contemplated by the platform of Women's CricInsight.


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