Recent Match Report - ENG Women vs IND Women Only Test 2021

Recent Match Report – ENG Women vs IND Women Only Test 2021

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The spinner took out half-centurions Shafali Verma and Deepti Sharma

Lunch India 171 for 3 (Verma 63, Sharma 54) and 231 (Verma 96, Mandhana 78, Ecclestone 4-88, Knight 2-7) lead England 396 for 9 dec. (Knight 95, Dunkley 74*, Beaumont 66, Rana 4-131, Sharma 3-65) by six runs

Within seconds of Katherine Brunt taking a screamer to remove India’s greatest threat, the bank of spectators – barely 200 of them – turned to the big screen directly behind them to see it again. When the vision switched to a graphic at the crucial moment, their collective groan sounded like they were many more in number.
Just like the few hundred others who had bothered to attend each of the previous three days, they had witnessed something truly impressive, not least the breath-taking talent of Shafali Verma, the 17-year-old opener whom Brunt had just dismissed and who had scored twin half-centuries on Test debut.
Sophie Ecclestone had entered the attack as soon as Kate Cross had completed her over which was halted by rain on the third day. Ecclestone, the left-arm spinner ranked the world’s No. 1 bowler in T20Is, was pummelled back over her head for six by Verma, the leading T20I batter who moved to 63 with the maximum.

But five balls later, without adding to her score, Verma’s eyes lit up at an Ecclestone full-toss and she lifted it down the ground as Brunt, running to her left from long-on had to launch herself forwards in a dive to meet it and clung onto the catch. Leaping back to her feet, Brunt pivoted towards the stands with both fists clenched and roared with delight.

India’s spectacular first-innings collapse in which they had lost seven wickets for 20 runs in 14.2 overs and in which Deepti Sharma was the only middle-order batter to pass 4 with her unbeaten 29, rammed home the importance of Verma’s wicket. She had, after all, posted a first-innings score of 96 in a 167-run partnership with Smriti Mandhana.

But with Verma gone, Sharma and Punam Raut dug in to guide India to 171 for 3, as Sharma fell on the last ball before lunch, with a lead of six runs.

Until Sharma fell, with England struggling to make inroads, the match looked headed for a draw that would belie the many fascinating storylines of the match. Ecclestone then struck for the second time in the morning session and, provided England could get back on a roll, the prospect of a result loomed back into sight.

Sharma, another debutant who had displayed her stubbornness in facing 44 deliveries for a single run earlier in her innings, reached a 157-ball fifty with a pull off Nat Sciver to deep backward square. But her resistance ended when she inexplicably attempted to slog-sweep a full Ecclestone delivery and bottom-edged onto her stumps, gone for 54 and leaving Raut unbeaten on 39 at the break.

Raut had an lbw decision overturned when she was on 17, replays showing that she had edged Brunt onto her pad.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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