Healy 133 leads Australia to massive victory
Australia 332 for 7 (Healy 133) beat India 235 (Mandhana 52, Gardner 3-39) by 97 runs
When Australia toured India the last time, in 2012, Meg Lanning's 128 had hoisted them to their highest total against India of 300 for 7. On Sunday, Alyssa Healy's 133 - her maiden international century in her 112th innings across formats - bettered that record to 332 for 7 and consigned the hosts to a 97-run defeat.
In becoming the first Australia women wicketkeeper to notch up an ODI hundred, Healy's 115-ball innings helped her side to their third-highest total in the format, the highest ever by a visiting team against India, and contributed to a 3-0 clean sweep. The win also propelled Australia to the top of the ICC rankings in ODIs, superseding England.
That Healy and Australia could pummel India after having elected to bat was down to a slew of gaffes from the Indian fielders, including seven dropped chances - six of which were fairly straightforward ones - and a missed stumping. Australia were on 29 for 1 in the eighth over, thanks to Ekta Bisht already having sent back Nicole Bolton, the highest run-scorer of the series, with a plucky return catch, when the sloppiness in the field began.
Until then, Shikha Pandey's figures were 3-0-7-0, and Healy's score read 13 off 22. But it proved to be the most expensive over of the match, as Lanning caressed a cover drive for four off the first ball, followed by a four and a six from Healy. Pandey's shot at redemption came off the last ball, with Healy flicking her nonchalantly to deep square leg only to be given a life by Mona Meshram, who was playing her first game of the series, having come in Veda Krishnamurthy. Not only did Meshram let the ball through her hands, but it trickled over the rope for a four.
When an encore of the almighty mess occurred in the 20th over, with Meshram parrying a pull off Pooja Vastrakar over the deep-square leg boundary for a six, Healy was on 56 off 53 balls, having brought up her half-century off the 47th ball of her innings.
That was India's third miss, the second being that of Ellyse Perry off Deepti Sharma. Deepti drew Perry out of the crease with a ripping offbreak that took an inside edge before feathering her back pad. The wicketkeeper, Sushma Verma, could neither pouch it nor could catch Perry short of her ground.
Amid the multiple let-offs by the hosts, Lanning drove uppishly to Mithali Raj at cover to be dismissed for 19, bringing the 45-run second-wicket stand with Healy to a close, while Perry was caught behind off Pandey for 32. Vice-captain Rachael Haynes then brought up her 1000th ODI run en route to her 39-ball 43, while Beth Mooney chipped in with a 19-ball 34 and Ashleigh Gardner with a 20-ball 35, having been dropped twice - on 11 by Vastrakar and 15 by Sushma - in three balls off Kaur's third over.
Healy upped her scoring rate to capitalise on the reprieves. She notched up her maiden international century off the 94th ball of her innings. In Pandey's eighth over, she was dropped for a third time by Deepti at extra cover. Her 133 featured 17 fours and two sixes.
Even though India had never successfully chased anything beyond 245, their opening stand of 101 in 13.4 overs gave them every bit a chance to improve on the stat. Smriti Mandhana, followed up her fifty from the previous game with a 42-ball 52, partnering teenager Jemimah Rodrigues who made 42 off 41 having got a chance in place of Punam Raut.
For all their fluency in strokeplay, it was a thick outside edge from Rodrigues that brought India's century opening stand. The momentum tilted in favour of Australia for the first time in the chase within the following two balls. Rodrigues was caught off a loopy length delivery, a stunning run-and-dive catch from Haynes at mid-on. Next ball, Mandhana misread the trajectory of a full ball on middle-and-off that pinged her on the front pad.
Harmanpreet's underwhelming run of form this series did not snap; she fell for 25. Haynes then pulled off a second terrific catch, snaffling Raj low at midwicket off Jonassen. The next over, Meshram's horrid day came to an agonising end as she picked out Nicola Carey for a five-ball one, reducing India to 182 for 5.
Deepti Sharma knocked off 36, Sushma Verma smacked three fours and a six, but the pair fell five balls apart as a diving Lanning at extra cover caught Sushma, while Deepti conceded her middle stump to a Perry inswinger. In the same over, the 40th, Perry had Pandey caught behind for a first-ball duck.
Bisht, who had wounded her left hand while attempting a return catch off Haynes, retired out and India had folded in 44.4 overs.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo