India Women pulverise England by 347 runs to record the biggest Test victory in history


PTI, Dec 16, 2023, 12:36 PM IST

Deepti Sharma played the enforcer’s role to perfection for the second time in as many days as the dominant India Women scripted a historic 347-run victory over England on the third day of the one-off Test here on Saturday. India set the hunt for triumph in motion while declaring their second innings closed at the overnight score of 186 for 6, leaving England to climb a huge mountain of 479 runs in their second innings.

The Indian bowlers led by off-spinner Deepti Sharma (4/32) and pacer Pooja Vastrakar (3/23) then bundled out England for 131 to celebrate a victory that now stands as the biggest in terms of runs in the history of women’s Test cricket, bettering Sri Lanka’s 309-run victory over Pakistan in April 1998.

It was also India’s first win over England at home in 15 Tests, having beaten them in away games twice in 2014, giving them a big boost ahead of the one-off Test against Australia starting next week. Over the last three days, the Indians did not show any rust of not having played Test cricket in two years, and a first at home after nine years, while being at their ruthless best. But for all that slew of records, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side should thank Deepti (8-2-32-4) who was in her elements after that sensational 5 for seven in the first innings, as England lacked the gumption to fight even on a pitch that appeared to be far more gentle.

India did not have to wait for long for the first breakthrough this morning.

It came in the form of Tammy Beaumont (17) with pacer Renuka Singh moving the ball in from outside the off to knock down her off-stump. England sunk deeper after suffering twin blows in Vastrakar’s first over. Sophie Dunkley (15) played one straight into the hands of substitute Harleen Deol at gully.

Vastrakar then dealt England a body blow when she cleaned up first-innings star Nat Sciver-Brunt for a first-ball duck, getting the ball to nip back in and passing it through between the bat and the pad. India also wasted two DRS reviews in haste — one each against Heather Knight and Danni Wyatt — but did not have to work too hard for the third wicket. An on-song Vastrakar had one nipping away after pitching to find an outside edge off Knight’s bat, as Yastika Bhatia did the rest behind the stumps. Knight made a 20-ball 21 with four boundaries.

England’s misery continued when Wyatt edged a delivery to the first slip for Deepti’s first wicket in the innings after making 12. Deepti then had Amy Jones (5) pulling one straight to short midwicket, and in her seventh over of the innings, the 26-year-old hit the timber twice to dismiss Kate Cross (16) and Lauren Filer (0). While Deepti narrowly missed taking 10 wickets in the game to become the first Indian Women’s player to do so, Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/20) enjoyed some success. The left-arm spinner had her first success in the form of Sophie Ecclestone (10) when the batter went for a sweep and missed to connect, while Lauren Bell (8) was caught by Jemimah Rodrigues at silly point for the final wicket of the game. It was a perfect outing for India also given that all their debutants in the game — Shubha Satheesh, Rodrigues, and Renuka — tasted success, but there also was a dampener in the form of Shubha missing the action on the second and the third day owing to a fractured finger.

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