Day Two of the Test looked like it was going to end prematurely at just before 3pm as the promised torrential rain materialised over a slightly less picturesque Wormsley. At the time the game was intriguingly poised with England holding a 51 run lead with seven wickets still in hand. But thanks to the stirling efforts of the groundstaff play resumed at 5.30pm with 33 overs still to be played. It was a two hour period that England could have done without.
India started the day on 87/6 and Goswami (17) and Niranjana (27) had added only eight to the overnight score before Goswami was completely bamboozled by a ball from Gunn which looked to be travelling towards the leg-stump and then hit the top of off. It was Gunn's fifth wicket of the innings and it was nothing more than she deserved. She kept the ball full and gave away nothing. Most of the time it was just outside off, but the ball that got Goswami was a peach. She actually finished the day with figures of 18-9-19-5, by far her best Test bowling figures.
The wicket opened up one end for England and both ends became free to the bowlers when Niranjana was the 11th lbw victim of the match to a rather leg-side looking ball from Cross. She top scored for the Indians to add to her four wickets in the England first innings. Surprisingly Gunn gave way to Odedra and she managed to pick up her first England wicket with another full delivery that clipped Sharma on the toes - lbw number 12. Cross ended the Indian first innings in the next over when Sharma walked across all her stumps and the ball thudded into her pads - lbw number 13. India were 114 all out - a lead of 22.
England really needed a good start to their second innings, but they did not get it. Second ball Heather Knight lunged at a wide swinging delivery from Goswami and edged through to Jain who caught a simple catch in front of first slip - 0/1. Tammy Beaumont came in to join Lauren Winfield and the two of them used every part of their bats to accumulate a few runs before lunch. Winfield looked in more positive mode and was prepared to throw her hands through the ball if it was pitched up. She went into lunch with 21 to her name thanks to a couple of booming cover smites and Beaumont had 8. England had a lead of eight as they sat on 30/1.
After lunch India made the early breakthrough they wanted as Beaumont fell lbw for the second time in the match, this time trying to play a forward lunge to Bisht, but playing outside a non-spinning full ball from the left-arm spinner. She looked unhappy but it looked a fair decision. Two balls later it looked as though Charlotte Edwards had done exactly the same thing. The Indians certainly believed so, but umpire Billy Taylor said no. She got a single at the end of the over and then survived an equally vociferous shout by Pandey that probably looked even more out. The Indians stood aghast for some time, but umpire David Millns remained unmoved (for a change).
Charlotte Edwards looked more nervous than I have ever seen her, but to her credit she fought her way through it and finally her feet began to move and she unleashed her trademark cover drive and square cut. The slower the bowling though the more Winfield struggled to score. She had only 6 runs in an hour after lunch when Pandey returned to replace Bisht, who had gone for just six off eight overs. You could almost see the load lift off Winfield's shoulders as she pulled her first ball for four and then hit a couple of twos, but then another short ball seemed to keep slightly low and evaded Winfield's attempted pull. Umpire Millns said it would have hit the stumps, although it looked high to those looking on. She became the fifteenth lbw victim with 35 runs to her name (top score in the game so far).
There was just time for Sarah Taylor to come to the crease and face one ball before the heavens opened and the players left the pitch with England on 73/3. When they resumed two and a half hours later they lost Charlotte Edwards (20) to the very first ball from Bisht caught behind and Lydia Greenway (1) then became the sixteenth lbw victim of the game with Goswami's first ball. England were 74/5.
That became 84/6 when Nat Sciver was bowled by a perfect yorker from Sharma and it looked like the game wouldn't last two days let alone four. But Sarah Taylor (30 off 86 balls) took root and Jenny Gunn (2 off 47 balls) dropped anchor. They added an unbeaten 26 to the total in a drab 17 overs of play, most of them bowled by Ekta Bisht who ended with 2/11 off 21 overs.
It means that England have a lead of 88 with four wickets in hand. They will want to try and double that tomorrow. A more positive approach will be encouraged by the Press Tent, but England will be content to build a lead slowly. They must just hope that they don't get a ball with their name written on it. If they do they will be villified. If they bat all day and give England a lead of 200 and England win then they will be heroes.
Full scorecard here