India registered a colossal 347-run victory - the biggest margin in terms of runs in the history of Women’s Tests - against England in the one-off Test match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday (December 16). Deepti Sharma’s all-round performance headlined India’s collective effort as they wrapped up the Test match before Lunch on Day 3.
India put away their disappointing display in the three-match T20I series to run riot against England in their first Test match at home in nine years. At the start of the day, Harmanpreet Kaur declared India’s second innings on the overnight score of 186 for 6 leaving England 479 runs for an improbable win.
Openers Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley got off to a better start compared to the first innings. They hit a few boundaries to give England a decent start. But once again it was Renuka Singh Thakur who struck first when she got one ball to straighten against Beaumont to castle the right hander.
Dunkley followed her partner three overs later as her sliced shot off Pooja Vastrakar’s delivery fell into the hands of the substitute fielder Harleen Deol at gully.
Then came the big wicket as Vastrakar continued her dream spell as she dismissed the dangerous Nat Sciver-Brunt for a golden duck. The allrounder continued to dominate the English middle order with her accurate line and length. Heather Knight departed next as she nicked it to wicket-keeper Yastika Bhatia to give Vastrakar her third wicket.
It was a complete capitulation for England from there onwards. Deepti was introduced to the bowling attack as the fourth bowler. The off-spinner made an instant impact once again as she struck in her second cover this time to have Danni Wyatt nick one to Sneh Rana at slips. Soon, Deepti removed Amy Jones as well to leave England five down.
When Sophie Ecclestone became Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s first wicket of the Test, England were reduced to 83 for 7 and it looked like the visitors wouldn’t even go past three-figure mark.
Deepti picked up two more wickets as she accounted for Kate Cross and Lauren Filer leaving them just one wicket away from a famous win. And that wicket eventually came when Gayakwad had Lauren Bell caught by Jemimah Rodrigues. Charlie Dean, one of the bright spots for England with the ball, was stranded as England were bowled out for 131 in 27.3 overs.
Deepti walked away with the best bowling figures by an Indian spinner as her teammates broke into jubilation. For bettering, Harmanpreet’s 9 for 85, the off-spinner walked away with the player of the match.
But it wasn’t just Deepti who contributed to their first Test win against England at home. A good batting display on Day 1, courtesy of debutants Shubha Satheesh and Rodrigues, key knocks from Bhatia, Deepti and Harmanpreet ensured India had a good total in the first innings. They followed it up with a rampant bowling display on the second day by bowling out England for 136 runs. And a solid lead of 478 runs by the end of Day 2 was more than enough for the hosts.
Deepti was rightfully awarded the player of the match for her all-round performance. She scored 67 runs in the first innings before taking that five-wicket haul. Her four wickets in the second innings ensured India would register a record-breaking triumph. She also narrowly missed out on becoming the second Indian woman to clinch a ten-wicket Test match haul after Jhulan Goswami.
India will look to carry the momentum in their upcoming home series against Australia which begins with a one-off Test match on December 21.
Brief scores: India 428 for 10 in 104.3 overs (Shubha Satheesh 69, Jemimah Rodrigues 68; Lauren Bell 3/67) and 186 for 6 dec. in 42 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 44*, Charlie Dean 4/68) beat England 136 for 10 (Nat Sciver-Brunt 59; Deepti Sharma 5/7, Sneh Rana 2/25) and 131 for 10 in 27.3 overs (Heather Knight 21; Deepti Sharma 4/32, Pooja Vastrakar 3/23) by 347 runs. POTM: Deepti Sharma