Deepti's all-round show in India's Test record win over England | Crickit
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Deepti's all-round show in India's Test record win over England

By, Navi Mumbai
Dec 16, 2023 09:44 PM IST

Deepti Sharma's 4/32 in the England second innings (match haul 9/39) on Day 3 eases India to a 347-run win, the largest in women's Tests by runs

On the opening day, it was the batters who stood up, posting India’s second highest women's Test innings total. On Day 2, it was the spinners who stole the show, handing the hosts a 292 first-innings lead. And on Day 3, the pacers had their say to secure a historic win. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and teammates were also impressive in the field as they produced an emphatic all-round performance to beat England by 347 runs in the one-off Test at the DY Patil Stadium here on Saturday.

India's Deepti Sharma celebrates after the dismissal of England's Kate Cross.(AP)
India's Deepti Sharma celebrates after the dismissal of England's Kate Cross.(AP)

It was the largest margin of victory by runs in the history of women’s Test cricket, wrapped up before lunch on Day 3 of the four-day tie. Deepti Sharma, who scored 67 runs in the first innings and took 5/7 with her off-spin in the England first innings, snapped up four more in the second to claim the Player-of-the-Match award.

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With a lead of 478 runs heading into Day 3, India declared the second innings on their overnight 186/6, leaving England, facing the biggest ever chase in women's Tests, with the improbable task of batting out two days. Harmanpreet revealed later that coach Amol Muzumdar wanted the pacers to get the opportunity to exploit the morning conditions. Renuka Singh and Pooja Vastrakar did exactly that.

The two right-arm pacers blew away the England top order with splendid spells before Deepti took over as India wrapped up the game before lunch, with five sessions left.

Renuka struck first by dismissing Tammy Beaumont, who had struck a double century in her previous Test. It was another peach of a delivery by the 27-year-old which nipped away to knock back the off-stump.

Pooja took over, removing the next three batters. Sophia Dunkley fell to a sharp catch at gully by substitute Harleen Deol, but the dismissals of Natalie Sciver-Brunt and skipper Heather Knight truly stood out. The 24-year-old all-rounder seamed the ball in to rattle Sciver-Brunt’s stumps, before getting one to nip away to take Knight’s outside edge.

Charlie Dean at No.8 was unbeaten, but Deepti and Rajeshwari ran through the rest of England’s line-up. India bowled just 63 overs to bag the 20 wickets, claiming their first home Test win over England.

“It feels great," Harmanpreet said. "We went into this match to win and were prepared to take the decisions that were needed,” she said at the post-match press conference.

“Everything went according to play. We got the runs we wanted and then the bowlers also did a very good job. Be it the pacers or spinners, they knew their plans and bowled accordingly. The biggest positive for the team was the fielding. In a long game where you have to field for 90 overs, it all comes down to how you maintain your energy. We set the tone with our fielding and did well to sustain it.”

Harmanpreet said Muzumdar, appointed head coach before England's tour, provided crucial tactical inputs all through the game.

“When you bat, you get a good idea of how the pitch will behave at different times. You understand which bowler to use in which moment. Apart from that, our coach helped us a lot because I had zero experience of leading the team in a Test. I was trusting his decisions, like sending (debutant) Shubha (Satheesh) at No.3, or bowling ideas. His experience helped us a lot, which gave me the time to make decisions."

Knight said on multiple occasions that the conditions were “extreme” and that her team had never faced spin to this extent before, but the 32-year-old also lavished praise on India for a complete performance.

“The pitch deteriorated a bit faster than we probably expected it to,” she said. “It was reasonably good to bat on in the first innings. But yeah, they bowled outstandingly today and showed exactly how to play in these conditions.

"The seam movement this morning when they hit good areas made it quite tough for us. Pooja, in particular, was outstanding. The late seam movement she got was a good lesson for our bowlers on how to bowl here. Obviously, the spin was quite extreme. We learnt quite a lot from how India played in their first innings. How they found that right level between attack and defence, and how they put pressure back on the bowlers. We tried to take those learnings into today, but India had another outstanding day with the ball.”

Brief scores: India 428 & 186/6 decl (Harmanpreet Kaur 44*, Sophie Ecclestone 2/76, Charlie Dean 4/68); England 136 & 131 (Pooja Vastrakar 3/23, Deepti Sharma 4/32, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/20). India won by 347 runs.

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