Fri. Jun 21st, 2024
19 wickets fell in the day as off-spinner Charlie Dean finished with 4-68 for England, but India lead by 478

India 428 (104.3 overs) & 186-6 (42 overs): Kaur 44*, Dean 4-68

England 136 (35.3 overs): Sciver-Brunt 59; Sharma 5-7

India lead by 478 runs

Scorecard

England’s disappointing batting collapse handed India total control of the one-off Test in Mumbai as 19 wickets fell on a dramatic second day.

England slumped to 136 all out in reply to India’s first-innings 428, including losing six wickets for only 10 runs.

Off-spinner Deepti Sharma took 5-7, with Nat Sciver-Brunt’s 59 the only contribution of note for England.

India then opted against enforcing the follow-on and finished 186-6, an imposing lead of 478.

Charlie Dean took 4-68 and fellow spinner Sophie Ecclestone 2-76, but the turn and bounce that they produced only adds to the pressure as England face batting last with such a significant deficit and two days to go.

India started the day on 410-7 but could only add a further 18 runs as Lauren Bell and Ecclestone took the remaining three wickets in the first 10 overs.

England slipped to 28-2 in reply with Sophia Dunkley and Heather Knight dismissed by seamers Renuka Singh Thakur and Pooja Vastrakar, before Tammy Beaumont and Sciver-Brunt rebuilt with a steady stand of 51.

But from 79-2, chaos ensued as Beaumont was needlessly run out and England appeared to panic as the ball started to turn.

Danni Wyatt was caught at short leg for 19, Amy Jones was bizarrely caught for 12 after the ball ricocheted off a close fielder’s helmet and Sciver-Brunt was bowled by a ripping delivery from spinner Sneh Rana.

Sharma then rattled through the lower order as none of England’s last five batters made it into double figures, and India were able to bat with the freedom allowed by minimal scoreboard pressure.

Openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma shared 61 for the first wicket before captain Harmanpreet Kaur added an unbeaten 44 to punish a tiring England, who have spent 146 overs in the field and the heat across two days.

Sharma shines as England’s spin woes continue

England’s batting struggles against spin have been well-documented in 2023, with Australia off-spinner Ash Gardner taking eight wickets in their final-day defeat in the Ashes Test, before Heather Knight’s side succumbed to Sri Lanka’s slow bowlers in September’s T20 series.

Correcting those struggles in the space of a couple of months was never going to be straightforward, and correcting them in spin-friendly Indian conditions even less so.

But it is the fact that England do not seem to be learning from their past mistakes that will be of concern to head coach Jon Lewis.

Seven of the 10 wickets fell to spin, and while the pitch was assisting them, England responded to the challenge timidly, in stark contrast to the positivity and aggression that Lewis so often refers to.

Jones was unlucky, but the rest of the batters were caught on the crease, hesitant to get on the front foot and that allowed Sharma and Rana to simply twirl away, never feeling under pressure and the pitch did the rest for them.

Sciver-Brunt played beautifully for her half-century but there are only so many times that she can dig England out of trouble.

Beaumont’s run out was unnecessary, scrambling a single to the athletic Vastrakar just as England were rebuilding, while Dunkley’s struggles against the swinging ball continued and Knight misjudged a ball that nipped back to pin her lbw.

The home conditions favoured India and the teams play so little Test cricket that preparation is always difficult, but England would still have expected to put up more of a fight and it will take something very special from them just to take this match to a fourth day.

Impressive India rise to the occasion

India’s spinners took seven of the 10 England wickets to fall on day two

Despite England’s struggles, the credit must go to India who were superb.

They are a side that is packed with talent but historically have struggled for consistency and rarely get all three facets of the game right at the same time.

But when they do, they show they are a force to be reckoned with.

On day one, they were disciplined but positive with the bat and carried that into their bowling effort, with plenty of noise and energy to back up their bowlers to put immediate pressure on England.

Captain Kaur was smart, too – she opened with Rana’s off-spin, packed fielders around the bat to squeeze England’s batters and kept them there, attacking even when Sciver-Brunt was in full flow.

They had high standards in the field, an area of their game which often disappoints, constantly diving and saving singles.

They also managed to maintain their energy levels, which was perhaps more noticeable because their batting innings had allowed them a decent rest, which England were not afforded.

England will be frustrated with their performance but India were almost faultless – even losing six wickets at the end was not a particular concern with the vast lead that they had already earned.

Kaur’s side start a Test match against world-dominating Australia in just less than a week’s time, and that is set to be a thrilling encounter if India can maintain their positivity and tactical awareness against the best in the game.

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