Pooja Vastrakar | Sportzwiki

Pooja Vastrakar

Sneh Rana took three wickets on the first day of her Test debut Getty Images
Sneh Rana took three wickets on the first day of her Test debut Getty Images
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England Women Resorted To Constant Sledging To Disturb Indian Women Team’s Concentration: Sneh Rana

England women players resorted to “constant sledging” to disturb the concentration of the Indian women team but they maintained their composure to pull off a thrilling draw for the Indian women’s team in the one-off Test here.

It was a tale of Indian women debutants as Shafali Verma (96 and 63), Deepti Sharma (3/65, 29* and 54), Taniya Bhatia (0 and 44*), Sneh Rana (4/131, 2 and 80*) and Pooja Vastrakar (1/53, 12 and 12) took the centre-stage to eke out a draw against England women after being followed-on in India’s first Test after seven years.

England Women Sledged A Lot, Says India's Savior Sneh Rana who first took four wickets, then played a match-saving knock of 80 not out in India's second innings. Courtesy: Twitter
England Women Sledged A Lot, Says India’s Savior Sneh Rana who first took four wickets, then played a match-saving knock of 80 not out in India’s second innings. Courtesy: Twitter

England Women Players Tried To Disturb Indian Women Players Who Were Unnerved

Needing two wickets in the final session, England women bowlers were on top and used all the tactics with close-in fielders and constant sledging but Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia remained unfazed.

“It was their job to disturb us, and they kept on doing so many things to achieve their goal,” Rana, who scripted a heroic act with Bhatia in their century-plus unbroken nine-wicket partnership, said at a virtual post-match conference on Saturday night.

India's Taniya Bhatia plays a shot during the one-off Test against England. — Reuters
India’s Taniya Bhatia plays a shot during the one-off Test against England. — Reuters

“We did not pay any attention and kept on talking to each other after every ball, be it from far or getting closer. It boosted us up. We just wanted to do it for our team. That was the only conversation we had in the middle.”

England women’s Sophie Ecclestone’s four wickets earlier in the day had England in a prime position to push for victory before an eighth-wicket partnership worth 41 runs between Sneh Rana and Shikha Pandey had India clinging on to the prospect of a draw at tea.

Sneh Rana, who on Test debut produced just the innings her side needed, reaching 80 not out off 154 balls to kill off any chance of the hosts sealing a result while Taniya Bhatia was unbeaten on 44 at stumps.

Sneh Rana And Deepti Sharma Opens Up On The One-Off Test

In her first match for India after five years, the spin allrounder Sneh Rana bowled 39.2 overs in the first innings before putting up the rescue-act batting at No 8.

“There was no nervousness. We just wanted to play our basics. There was sledging in the middle but we both decided to just focus on our batting and put in extra focus.I don’t think much and just keep myself busy. I didn’t want the situation to take over me so that I could play my natural game.”

Asked about missing a century on her Test debut, Rana said: “I didn’t think about the century. The team wanted me to stay so I was just playing ball-by-ball and contribute to the team.”

Sneh Rana remained unbeaten on 80 against England in the second innings
Sneh Rana remained unbeaten on 80 against England in the second innings (Courtesy: Reuters)

Promoted to No 3 after being unbeaten in the first innings, Deepti Sharma was steely in her partnership with Shafali Verma as she put in the foundation before England triggered a collapse. Indian women lost the momentum midway into the 2nd innings as they were staring on the brink of a defeat with the score at 199/7 before managing a respectable 344/8 following on.

“Actually, it was about starting all over again and play session by session. I always enjoy batting with Shafali, we know there will be sixes, boundaries anytime when she is playing.”

“I got a lot of confidence from my knock in the first innings, I just wanted to play close to my body in the second innings. I just played session-by-session,” Sharma said.

The England women and Indian women teams agreed to a draw at 6.13 pm local time with India 344 for 8 in their second innings following on, a lead of 179 runs, after Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia had combined for an unbroken stand of 104 for the 9th wicket.

India 231 (Verma 96, Mandhana 78, Ecclestone 4-88, Knight 2-7) and 344 for 8 (Rana 80*, Verma 63, Sharma 54, Bhatia 44*) (f/o) drew with England 396 for 9 declared (Knight 95, Dunkley 74*, Beaumont 66, Rana 4-131, Sharma 3-65)

Smriti Mandhana, India, Shafali Verma
Smriti Mandhana . Photo Credit: Getty Images,
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Smriti Mandhana Ruled Out From ODI Series Against South Africa

India’s southpaw opener Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the upcoming three-match One Day International series against South Africa. Mandhana is out of the series as she has a fractured toe. The left-hander suffered the injury during the practice session which has ruled her out.

Meanwhile, the ODI series will begin on October 9 at Vadodara. In fact, the Indian Women team is all set to tour West Indies after the completion of the home ODI series against South Africa. However, the seriousness of Mandhana’s injury is yet to be known. Thus, it would be interesting to note whether she would be available for the Caribbean tour or not.

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Allrounder Pooja Vastrakar has been named her replacement against South Africa series. She has played 6 ODIs and 14 T20Is for India Women. The right-handed batswoman has struck a half-century in ODI. She has not much experience as Mandhana.

Smriti Mandhana
Smriti Mandhana(Photo by Vipin Pawar / BCCI / SPORTZPICS)

India Women’s will miss Smriti Mandhana

Mandhana has played 50 ODIs for the team and scored 1951 runs with an average of 42.41 and at the strike rate of 83.51. She has also played 62 T20Is and scored 1344 runs at a strike rate of 116.86. Mandhana is the no.1-ranked ODI batsman and her absence will be a loss to the Indian women’s team.

From last year, she is running in great form. The vice-captain of the women’s T20I team was named Women’s ODI Player of the Year in the ICC awards in 2018. Mandhana has struck four centuries and 16 half-centuries in ODI career.

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Meantime, India has registered the victory in the T20I series against South Africa in the home ground. India was scheduled with 5 T20Is against South Africa but two matches were halted by rain so one more match was included. The total of six matches were played, in which India won three matches and two matches were washed out.

South Africa Women’s team had a bad T20I series as they won only one T20I out of six. The team would like to recover in ODI series.