Women’s Test: India hog opening day’s honours by riding high on four half-tons

Mumbai: Half-centuries by four India batswomen and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 49, helped hosts to pile on 410/7 on Day 1 of the one-off Women’s Test against England at DY Patil Stadium here on Thursday.

Electing to bat, India were quickly off the blocks, with Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Varma cutting loose and fetching some boundaries of English pacers including Lauren Bell.

However, the duo’s bonhomie with the bat ended abruptly. Mandhana chopped on to her stumps off Bell’s ball, while Shafali was cleaned up with an outswinger by Kate Cross.

Shubha Satheesh and Jemimah Rodrigues took over the charge and kept the board ticking with boundaries without taking risks.

The duo intelligently milked runs in singles and twos by taking advantage of England’s attacking field set. They were also lucky as their edges flew past the close-in cordons, but they never looked uncertain.

Shubha brought up her half-century in the debut Test in 49 balls with her immaculate technique against pace and spin. She lost her wicket post-lunch while mistiming a pull to mid-wicket off Sophie Eccelstone.

Jemimah reached fifty immediately with an exquisite extra cover drive for a boundary, but also fell in her 60s to Bell’s inswinger that disturbed her timbers.

Harmanpreet and Yastika maintained the tempo despite two quick wickets. They walked unconquered into the tea break and stitched the second century stand of the day, though the run rate had dipped.

Soon after tea, Harmanpreet and Yastika cut loose and launched an attack on Lauren Filer, smoking a couple of boundaries and a six against the pacer.

The left-hander had a piece of luck going her way when an edge was dropped by a diving Heather Knight at slips. However, Harmanpreet wasn’t lucky and fell short of her maiden Test fifty by a run.

She tried to get back to the crease on her partner’s refusal as her bat got stuck just before the popping crease, and was run out by Danni Wyatt’s direct throw.

Yastika was the third batswoman to get out in the 60s when she top-edged a sweep off Charlie Dean and caught.

Both the set batswomen were sent back in quick succession, but failed to capitalise on it.

Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana aped the earlier batswomen who played with caution and aggression to keep the runs flowing at a good pace.

Rana managed to add 30 runs in a fifty runs stand with Deepti. She fell late in the day’s play but by then, India were in a dominating position.

At stumps, Deepti was batting on 60 alongside Pooja Vastrakar.

Brief Scores: India 410/7 (Shubha Satheesh 69, Jemima Rodrigues 68, Yastika Bhatia 66, Deepti Sharma 60*; Lauren Bell 2-64) vs England.

UNI

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