India register record score of 603; Kapp leads South Africa fightback

India went on to register the highest team total in Women's Tests when they scored 603.

Tanveer Singh Kapoor
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Harmanpreet Kaur and Richa Ghosh

India register highest team total in Women's Tests © Getty Images

India picked up from where they left off on Day 1 as Harmanpreet Kaur and Richa Ghosh continued to pile runs on the board for the hosts. Half-centuries by the pair guided India to a total of 603 runs, the highest team total in Women's Test history. South Africa ended Day 2 still trailing behind India by 367 runs with six of the first innings wickets in hand on Saturday (June 29) at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Marizanne Kapp and Sune Luus led the visiting team’s fight back on an enthralling day of Test cricket.

Earlier in the day, Captain Kaur and wicket-keeper Ghosh resumed their innings in the morning session in style. The former hit reached her fifty, which was her first in Tests. Ghosh followed her way but with an aim to accelerate India’s score further. While batting on 69 runs, Harmanpreet had to walk back to the dressing room, as the LBW call was overturned, giving Tumi Sekhukhune her first wicket. The 143-run partnership between the two is the highest fifth-wicket stand in Women’s Tests.

Ghosh’s rampant display with the bat also came to an end when she was edging closer towards her maiden international ton. She misjudged Nonkululeko Mlaba’s delivery while attempting to sweep the ball and was hit on the pads.

Immediately after Ghosh’s dismissal, India declared the innings, but not before they overtook Australia’s total of 575 for 9 declared - it happened in the previous Test between Australia and South Africa early this year -  to register the highest team total in the history of Women’s Tests. India’s solid run rate of 5.23 was also the first time any team scored at five runs or more in a 250-plus total.

South Africa commenced their innings positively just like the home side did. Laura Wolvaardt and Anneke Bosch were looking in good shape, but the South African skipper departed for 20 after having hit three boundaries, thanks to Sneh Rana’s off-spin prowess.

As expected, Chennai’s red pitch was offering extra assistance to the spinners with uneven bounce also playing a key role. Rana, Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad bowled the most overs for Team India with Rana posing the biggest threat to the visitors.

Bosch and Luus steadied the scoreboard for the Proteas. However, Rana had other ideas, as she got her second breakthrough by dismissing Bosch on 39 runs. The batter hit the outside edge while trying to defend the ball to Deepti was present at first slip as India ended the 63-run second wicket partnership.

Kapp was the next to arrive, and developed a formidable stand with Luus who slowly and steadily scored a fifty. Kapp provided optimal support to her partner, scoring runs at a quicker rate and eventually reaching the half-century mark. The pair added 93 runs together before Deepti worked her magic and got the better of Luus, who walked back to the dugout for 65 runs.

Rana struck back yet again for the home side, dismissing Delmi Tucker for a duck. The batter inside edged after getting beaten by the sharp turn and Ghosh collected the ball smartly. Nadine de Klerk’s arrival gave South Africa a satisfactory end to Day 2, as she took on the Indian bowlers aggressively, finishing the day’s play with 27 runs off 28 balls.

Brief scores: India 1st innings 603/6d in 115.1 overs (Shafali Verma 205, Smriti Mandhana 149; Delmi Tucker 2/141) South Africa 1st innings 236/4 (Marizanne Kapp 69*, Sune Luus 65; Sneh Rana 3/61). South Africa trail by 367 runs.