India opener Smriti Mandhana familiarised herself with the pink ball by keeping one in her kitbag for the last three months, looking at it on and off while trying to “understand” it.

When the idea struck her, little did Mandhana know that her team would enter its first-ever day-night Test match with just two days of training sessions with the pink ball.

Australia vs India, D/N Test, day one as it happened: Rain forces early end after Mandhana special

The idea to keep the pink ball around her worked well for the stylish opener, who was batting on a sublime 80 when inclement weather brought an early end to the opening day of their historic Test, against a formidable Australian side in Gold Coast.

“We just had two sessions with the pink ball,” said Mandhana during a virtual press conference after the first day’s play against Australia.

“I was coming from The Hundred (in England) so I didn’t really get much time to play with the pink ball, but during The Hundred I ordered a pink kookaburra ball just to keep it in my room because I knew there was going to be a Test match. So, I just wanted to look at the ball and understand it.

“I had actually not batted [against the pink ball], I batted for just two sessions but the pink ball was there in my kit bag for the last two and half to three months. I don’t know why I carried it, I thought I will have a session but I really didn’t get time to do that.”

Mandhana headlined a rain-hit opening day with a career-best knock which had elegance written all over it as the India finished the day at 132/1.

Speaking further on her preparation for the pink ball Test, she said, “I don’’t think we had a lot of time to work regarding this, we are just trying. People who are sitting out really helped, they kept me pumped up throughout the day, they contributed in making me focus in the way I did today.”

The Indian star said her plan was to just play on the merit of the ball and not complicate things.

“I just didn’t want to look at the scorecard, was just trying to be as blank and simple, play according to the ball. I didn’t really plan anything,” said Mandhana. “Last two days I felt good, felt I was able to bat well. I will try and do that tomorrow because I don’t want to complicate things.”

Mandhana said she wasn’t thinking about a century, focussing only on batting as well as she can to help the team notch up a good first innings score.

“Not thinking about a triple-figure score at the moment, the team needs me to bat well and in the process if I get one... I am just watching the ball and reacting.”

Mandhana said she is relishing being part of a multi-format tour to Australia.

“I am loving this multi-format series. You have to go and bat with a few slips and gully in place, so you have to apply yourself. That really tests you, you have to focus and switch on and switch off,” she said.

“Test cricket is always about different challenges and we would always want to play as many Tests as possible.”

Hosts Australia decided to put India in to bat after winning the toss but did not enjoy a good start to the game.

“They bowled slightly short in the first 15 overs but made up in the latter stages. Looking at the scoreboard now, we are happy to batting first. The openers have to step up and provide a good base whenever these kind of conditions come up,” Mandhana said.

A strong player on the back foot, Mandhana said batting on matting pitches in her early days helped her.

“I think with India being so vast, we have different ways of growing up. I played a lot of cricket on matting pitches till I was 15. It bounces a lot more on that.”

She lavished praise on her younger opening partner Shafali Verma (who scored 31 runs), with whom Mandhana put on 93 runs for the first wicket.

“In England, we had a 150-odd run partnership. We just try and back each other, we have good conversations. She was batting really well on this wicket.”

Mandhana seemed to have slowed down in the latter stages of the day but that had nothing to do with the breaks brought on by lightning and rain.

“It was more to do with the field placements and not breaks,” she said.

Australia skipper Meg Lanning admitted that her team could not make the most of the conditions.

“I think we bowled a touch too short and allowed them to play a bit more on the back foot. We took a while to adjust to the conditions. We have got a good plan heading into tomorrow and just got to execute it,” Lanning said.

She praised Mandhana for showing “excellent temperament while hitting the bad balls and defending the good ones”.

“She has played extremely well so far, showed how to adapt to this format. But we feel we are still in the game,” said Lanning.