Taniya Bhatia | Sportzwiki

Taniya Bhatia

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)

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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Sneh Rana Scores Half-Century And Bags 4 Scalps On Her Test Debut

Sneh Rana became the first Indian women’s cricketer to achieve a notable feat with her brilliant all-around display against England women. She became the first Indian woman to score a half-century and bag a four-wicket haul on her Test debut.

Playing her first international match, Sneha Rana made a remarkable statement with her all-around skills in the one-off Test match against England in Bristol.

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)

Sneh Rana Scores Half-Century And Took 4 Scalps In Her Test Debut As Her Partnership With Taniya Bhatiya Saves The Test

All-rounder Sneh Rana became the first Indian woman and fourth overall to score a half-century and take four wickets on Test debut.

After figures of 4/131 in England’s 1st innings, Sneh Rana scored a half-century in India’s second innings. She remained unbeaten on 80 and etched an unbeaten 104 run partnership with Taniya Bhatia (44 not out). During her unbeaten knock of 80, the all-rounder Sneh Rana scored the highest by an Indian batting at 6 or lower in Women’s Test cricket.

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

The one-off women’s Test between India and England ended in a draw on the final day, with the visitors defying the home side attack to score 344 for 8 in their second innings after following on. India was 199/7 in the second innings, but the herculean effort from Sneh Rana ensured that the game is drawn as India after scoring 344/8 averted a shameful defeat at Bristol.

Shafali Verma Added Only 8 More Runs To Her Overnight Score Of 55

Following on and on the verge of defeat on the final day on Saturday, India was rescued by Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia’s stand, the highest 9th wicket stand for Indian women in Tests.

Washington Sundar and Amar Singh are the two other Indians with this all-around feat in Test cricket. This feat has been done four times in women’s cricket, this being the first time by an Indian player.

Shafali Verma became the thrid youngest Indian women cricketer to play Test cricket after she was handed her debut | Photo: BCCI women
Shafali Verma became the third-youngest Indian women cricketer to play Test cricket after she was handed her debut | Photo: BCCI women

Earlier, India opener Shafali Verma (63) could add just eight more runs to her overnight score as Katherine Brunt caught her off Ecclestone in the 30th over. Smashed for a straight six in the first ball of the over, Sophie Ecclestone came back to dismiss Shafali Verma in the last delivery, with Katherine Brunt taking a spectacular catch at long-on.

Deepti Sharma and Punam Raut then showed great resilience as India took a lead of six runs with seven wickets in hand at lunch. However, a sudden lapse of concentration saw Deepti Sharma go for a reckless slog off Sophie Ecclestone in the 58th over only to drag the ball onto her leg-stump in what was the last ball before lunch.

The 17-year-old Shafali Verma had smashed 96 runs in the one-off Test against England in Bristol, providing India with a solid start in the 1st innings but despite her efforts, India was made to follow on. Earlier, England had declared their first innings at 396/9 with captain Heather Knight making 95 while Sophia Dunkley (74*) and Tammy Beaumont (66) also made significant contributions.

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 decl. (Knight 95, Dunkley 74*, Beaumont 66, Rana 4-131, Sharma 3-65)