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Litchfield of dreams: Aussies break records in sweeping India away - 'We pride ourselves on being that clinical'

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2nd January, 2024
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Phoebe Litchfield’s career-best hundred has spurred Australia to a 190-run belting of India in the third women’s one-day international in Mumbai, securing a 3-0 series sweep.

Litchfield (119) and captain Alyssa Healy (82) led Australia to 7-338 – their highest total against India – before the home side crumbled for 148 in reply at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).

Litchfield, named player of the match and series after finishing with 260 runs at 86.67, followed her matchwinning ton by taking a stunning catch at cover, diving full-stretch to pluck a gem with her right hand to intercept Amanjot Kaur’s powerful cover drive.

Litchfield and Healy dominated from the outset, putting on 189 off 179 balls for the first wicket – the best by any opening pair against India.

MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 2: Phoebe Litchfield of Australia celebrates after scoring a hundred during the women's One Day International Match between India and Australia at Wankhede Stadium on January 2, 2024 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)

Phoebe Litchfield celebrates after scoring a hundred. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)

“I learned from each innings,” 20-year-old Litchfield said. “The first innings (game one) was a challenge and the second was even more of a challenge.

“I got a bit lucky in all three innings but it was nice to get three figures.”

Trailing 2-0 in the series, India needed to pull off the greatest run chase in the history of women’s ODIs for a consolation win but a steady flood of wickets cruelled their slim hopes.

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The spoils were shared with five bowlers striking: Georgia Wareham (3-21), Annabel Sutherland (2-9), Alana King (2-21), Megan Schutt (2-23) and Ashleigh Gardner (1-38).

Schutt snared openers Yastika Bhatia (9) and Smriti Mandhana (29) in the powerplay before legspinner Wareham dismissed out-of-sorts Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur (3) with her first delivery, then castled Richa Ghosh (19).

King took a sharp catch to remove Jemimah Rodrigues (25) before producing a sharp-ripping leg break to bowl Pooja Vastrakar (14).

Tahlia McGrath soared high for a one-handed catch to rival Litchfield’s, sending Shreyanka Patil packing, before another fine catch from Mooney at slip completed the rout.

Red-hot Litchfield combined deft scoops and reverse sweeps with authoritative down-the-ground drives during her masterful knock, while Healy reversed her scratchy form this tour by posting her first ODI half-century since her famous 170 against England in the 2022 World Cup final.

The skipper’s dismissal, playing on to Vastrakar, sparked a 4-27 mini-collapse.

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After spending 23 balls in the 90s dealing solely in singles, Litchfield raised her second career century and lifted her career ODI average above 60 before finally falling, miscuing Amanjot to Harmanpreet.

Tail-ender King blasted three sixes in an unbeaten 26 off 14 balls to leave India further dispirited.

This was Australia’s ninth win from nine bilateral ODI series against India and their sixth sweep.

“We want to continue to maintain our standards and that’s exactly what we did,” Healy said. “We pride ourselves on being that clinical, which we hadn’t been for a couple of series in the last 12 months. I’m pumped we did it tonight.”

© AAP

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