Friday, 15 August 2014

Day Three at the Test

India are poised on the verge of winning the first Test they have played in eight years, needing just 62 runs to beat England with six wickets still in hand. But England, who took two late wickets through Cross (3/34) and Knight will still feel they are in with a shout. That six wickets will probably be only five because Shublakshmi Sharma left the field halfway through the day with a dislocated shoulder and seems unlikely to bat.

At the start of the day England had 110/6 on the board - a lead of just 88 - but they had Sarah Taylor on 30 and Jenny Gunn on a resolute 2, having batted for more than an hour. They must have hoped that the two of them would stay together for the majority of the first period of play, but after a positive start by both batsmen Taylor (40) was bowled by Sharma, perhaps deceived by a slower ball. It was a bitter blow, but it seemed to galvanise Jenny Gunn, who has looked up for this game from Day One. She and Anya Shrubsole set about taking England from 123/7 and a lead of 101, past 150 and then past 175 and into lunch at 181/7 - a lead of a precious 159. Had you offered them that at the start of the day they probably would have been happy to take it.If they could add 50 more they would have felt they were really in the driving seat.

But first ball after lunch the complexion of the game changed again as Shrubsole was lbw to Goswami for a battling 14. The pair had added 58 runs - the first 50 partnership of the match. Two overs later Gunn brought up her 50 - her first in Test cricket, which actually means something for her as this is her 11th Test Match. Only Greenway and Edwards have played more for England. Sonia Odedra (1) and Kate Cross (2) did their best to keep her company as long as they could facing 36 balls between them, but Odedra edged Goswami through to Jain and Cross gave Jain her third victim this time off Pandey. Gunn finished on 62 not out, to add to her fivefer and her 7 not out in the first innings. England ended with 202 and India needed 181 to win.

Ten minutes later England were sprinting out into the field, keen to get at the Indians, but Thirush Kamini (28) and Smriti Mandhana (51) blunted the England attack which included Shrubsole, Gunn, Cross, Odedra, Sciver and Knight (England's token spinner). They were comfortably placed at 33/0 at tea and beyond tea Mandhana in particular looked in cracking form with crisp backfoot drives and flowing front foot drives. The pair took the total to 76/0 with almost no alarms, but then Kate Cross, who had looked the most likely to take a wicket, had Kamini lbw as she bowled round the wicket to the lefthander propping forward. Then two overs later she had Mandhana out in similar fashion, just after she had got to her maiden Test Match 50. India were 82/2 and suddenly the body language of the England players perked up. They had Poonam Raut in on a pair, but they also had Mithali Raj walking to the crease. Had Knight held on to a tough chance to complete Raut's pair at slip off Cross, England would have been cock-a-hoop, but the chance went down and when Raj moved onto eight with two sumptuous fours through cover point off Jenny Gunn it looked ominous for England.

But Raj and Raut decided to put up the shutters and they had made it to 112 with just a handful of overs before the day's end, when Raut was brilliantly caught by Jenny Gunn low down to her right at first slip off the part-time off spin bowling of Heather Knight. Harmanpreet Kaur came to the crease, but was soon walking back to the thatched pavilion as she was caught by Sarah Taylor behind the stumps standing up to Kate Cross. The celebrations were worthy of an Ashes winning wicket, which shows what this match means to England. They truly believe that they can win this match and an early wicket of either nightwatchman Pandey, or the prize scalp of Mithali Raj, and it really will be game on. This is why Test cricket is such fun. Oh that more people wanted to come and watch it.

Full scorecard here



  1. "Oh that more people wanted to come and watch it". Well lets play it on 3 weekdays shall we - great idea ! Oh and lets play at a beautiful ground with fabulous drainage and red kites flying overhead - in the middle of no where, with poor public transport, with a £15 entry fee and no sizable settlement anywhere nearby.

  2. Why cant we host women game at Lords or Trent Bridge?