INDW v ENGW: Fifties by Shubha, Jemimah, Yastika and Deepti help India to 410/7 at stumps

Debutantes Shubha Satheesh and Jemimah Rodrigues struck maiden half-centuries as did Yastika Bhatia and Deepti Sharma as India Women made a strong start to post 410/7 in 94 overs at stumps on Day1 of the one-off four-day Test against England Women at the DY Patil Stadium here on Thursday.

Shubha top-scored with 69, Jemimah was right behind with 68 in their first match and Yastika struck 66 off 88 balls in her third Test outing as India and England engaged in a thrilling cat-and-mouse game, the visitors pulling back the hosts every time the hosts were trying to get on the top.

Shubha and Jemimah added 115 runs for the third wicket to rescue India from 47/2; Yastika and Harmanpreet raised 116 for the fifth wicket to propel India ahead from 190/4 and Deepti Sharma and Sneha Rana contributed 92 runs for the seventh wicket as India crossed 400 runs for the third time against England.

At stumps, Deepti Sharma was 60 not out and had Pooja Vastrakar keeping her company at 4 as India Women scored 136/2 off 27 overs in the first session, made 125/2 off 29 overs in the afternoon and added 149/3 off 38 overs.

After skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and elected to bat first on a flat pitch that offered good bounce to both seamers and spinners, Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma struck a few boundaries but both were still in the limited-overs mode as they tried to reach out the ball on multiple occasions.

Mandhana (17 off 12), who struck Bell for a four off an overpitched delivery on the first ball of the second over, got a lucky break when Tammy Beaumont misjudged a top edge off a short-of-length delivery, running back from and completely lost the ball and grassed a diving effort.

But she could not make the most of the opportunity as she was the first to go, falling to Lauren Bell in the sixth over, as she chopped onto her stumps as the ball bounced a bit.

Shafali, who made 96 on debut for India against England two years back, followed suit, getting out for 19 off 30 balls, studded with four boundaries. She fell to Kate Cross as the experienced English pacer made a wobble-seam delivery move in a bit and evade the edge and send the off-stump cartwheeling.

Shubha and Jemimah performed the first rescue act as they raised 115 runs for the third wicket off 146 balls, scoring fifties on debut in the process.

Shubha, who completed a run-a-ball half-century in the first session, got out for 69, hitting 13 boundaries. The 24-year-old left-hander from Karnataka struck two beautiful straight drives and a couple of pleasing cut shots to the fence as she impressed everyone with her temperament.

She got out just when she was looking good to go all the way to score a hundred, as a wide one from Sophie Ecclestone moved in a bit and hit high on the bat, Nat Sciver-Brunt pouching a good diving catch. It was a good one as England dropped a few catches on the day.

Jemimah, who had been more sedate, completed her half-century off 82 balls and struck a flurry of shots, some of them not as assured as the majority of 10 boundaries she had struck on the day. However, she too got out at the most inappropriate moment for India, bowled by pacer Lauren Bell when a delivery wide of off-stump angled in through the gap between the bat and pad and crashed into the stumps. Her 68 came off 99 balls and was studded with 11 boundaries.

As India suffered another wobble with Shubha and Jemimah getting out within the space of 28 runs to be 190/4, Harmanpreet and Yastika guided them to safety, with the latter hitting her maiden half-century, as they raised 116 runs off 147 balls for the fifth wicket.

Yastika, who struck Sophie Ecclestone for back-to-back boundaries in the 35th over, completed her half-century off 66 balls with a pulled six off Lauren Filer over backward-square-leg and followed that up with a four through backward point. A one-bounce four off Bell in the midwicket region and a beautiful drive off Ecclestone for another four being two other standout shots by her.

Harmanpreet struck six fours and looked good for her fifty but India once again lost two quick wickets. both the skipper and Yastika got out in tame fashion, Harmanpreet getting run out freakishly as she casually attempted to get back into the crease after taking a few steps in search of a single. Danni Wyatt made a direct hit as the bat got tangled in the Harman’s pads as she missed a maiden half-century by one run.

Yastika, who got a life when at 15, skied an easy catch to Lauren Bell, who caught it this time to send the Indian batter packing for 66 off 88 balls, studded with 10 boundaries and a maximum

Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana, who struck an unbeaten 80 in the second innings to help India draw the match when these two teams clashed in England two years back, raised another vital partnership, adding 92 runs to ensure India crossed the 400-run mark. However, England struck a late blow when Nat Sciver-Brunt bowled Sneh Rana (30) tried to flick a fuller one and missed it only to see the ball ricochet into the stumps off her pads.

With the teams clashing in a Test match for the first time after 2021, there is a lot of interest centred on this match, which is also the first Test being hosted by India since a one-off Test against South Africa at Mysore in 2014. This is the first Test between India and England in India since 2005.

Brief scores:

India Women 410/7 in 94 overs (Shubha Satheesh 69, Jemimah Rodrigues 68, Yastika Bhatia 66, Deepti Sharma 60 not out, Harmanpreet Kaur 49; Lauren Bell 2-64, Nat Sciver-Brunt 1-25) against England Women.

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