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Heartbreak to triumph - Jhulan Goswami's 36-hour rollercoaster

As the teams prepare for the pink-ball Test, the Indian veteran knows she will be expected to bowl long spells as well as contribute with the bat

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
What will you remember of Jhulan Goswami's performance when this series is over?
The result-altering no-ball in the last over of Australia's come-from-behind victory in the second ODI? Or her outswingers-followed-by-an-inswinger sequence earlier in that match to Alyssa Healy that culminated in the Australia opener losing her stump for her first duck in over five years?
How about the reverse ploy Goswami employed in the third ODI on Sunday to dismiss Meg Lanning? Inswingers followed by an outswinger. Edged and taken. Goswami's second wicket of the match in the bag. And a first duck for the Australia captain since the 2017 World Cup semi-final when she lost her off stump to… Goswami. A rivalry reignited. A streak broken.
What will you remember of Goswami from this Super Sunday for India?
The frantic finish to India's record chase, with Goswami hitting the winning four? Or, perhaps, the equally frenetic end to Australia's innings earlier in the day when Goswami gave away just four in a double-wicket over to limit them to 264 for 9.
It was Goswami's day. The Player-of-the-Match distinction, her figures of 3 for 37, the milestone of 600 career wickets (71 in first-class, 415 in List A cricket, and 115 in T20s) with Rachael Haynes' scalp, and the fact that only one woman has more ODI caps than Goswami's 192, the latest one coming on Sunday, offer a wide assortment to pick from.
In Goswami's world, though, not all was hunky dory through the 99.3 overs sent down at Ray Mitchell Oval in the third ODI. A dropped chance to reprieve half-centurion Beth Mooney on 29, and misfields in the circle and by the boundary, may have left India wondering at the halfway mark if the errors would come back to bite them in the end, in a brutal reminder of Friday's last-ball defeat. It didn't. And the almost-39 Goswami was key to that.
Goswami, as Smriti Mandhana had explained after the second game, had been tasked with defending 13 off the final over in the second ODI for a reason. "We were just discussing [ahead of the last over] whether we have to go for spin or give Jhulu di the last over. But, definitely, we stuck to the experience of Jhulu di and there was so much of dew, so we thought it's better for a pace bowler to come and bowl a yorker and restrict them, and Jhulu di has the best yorkers in our team, so we backed experience."
For India's senior-most bowler and the world's leading wicket-taker in the women's game, not least for a team player that Goswami is known to be, falling short of the task assigned to her left behind scars.
"Day before yesterday, the way we lost the match it really hurt," Goswami said after Sunday's win. "The weather was different because of a lot of dew. It was difficult for bowlers to grip the ball. But somehow we pulled the match to the last ball and a lot of drama happened in the last over.
"So, for me, it was very important as a senior member of the side, to try to come back and deliver for the team when it's required the most, because every match is important. We've come here to play good cricket. As a senior member of the side, I just tried to hold the nerve, tried to give my best."
Asked if the memories of the previous match made her feel nervous when trying to close the game with the bat on Sunday, Goswami said, "I knew if I play till the end, we will be able to score the runs. I was just telling Meghna [Singh], 'Make sure that we play till the last ball and whenever we get the opportunity, just go for it'. I was very much confident because the last couple of days I was hitting the ball quite well [at training] and I knew if it is coming in my zone, I'll definitely go for it."
The multi-format series now enters what is unchartered territory for India: a pink-ball Test under lights, when the only red-ball cricket they have played in seven years in the international circuit was that one-off Test in England, earlier this year. For Goswami, there could be long spells with the pink ball, and contributions with the bat too.
"I know it's important as a tailender batter that if you can chip [in with] 15-20 runs, in each and every match, it can make a lot of difference," she said. "The captain and the coach told me that your role [is] not as a bowler [alone]; you have to bat, and you have to chip in. So, I was just trying to spend a lot of time in the nets sessions middling the ball well and whenever I get opportunities, I try to take those opportunities forward."
Soon after India's victory on Sunday, Mandhana tweeted a picture of the towering figure of Goswami surrounded by her, Harmanpreet Kaur, Shafali Verma and Harleen Deol. In the caption, a word often casually thrown about these days was used: "legend". To celebrate the contribution of a senior team-mate at the centre of a heartbreaking defeat one night and a tale of redemption 36-odd hours later, it hardly stood out as odd.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha