Put into bat yet again, openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma got India out of the blocks quickly and put on a better show compared to the first match. Mandhana started with a pull while Verma’s battle with Katherine Brunt continued at the other end. Verma camped on the back foot and used her hands to drive through the off-side and also pulled the pacer to the leg-side.
The pair hit eight boundaries between them but also ran well between the wickets and put on more than fifty runs for the opening wicket in 11 overs. Just as they were looking good to add more to the total, introduction of Cross changed the complexion of the match. Mandhana (22) played one onto the stumps while trying to cut a ball that was too close to the stumps.
Jemimah Rodrigues, playing her first match in the series, played two good looking shots for boundaries while Verma took on Cross with some innovation. But in her third over, Cross got the better of Rodrigues when the right-hander played across a fuller ball a bit early and was caught by Brunt at mid-on.
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Soon India were reduced to 77 for three when Verma was stumped brilliantly by Amy Jones for 44 off Sophie Ecclestone. The left-arm spinner drew Verma out of the crease with a slower one and was adjudged out even though it seemed a bit inconclusive in the replays.
However, the experienced duo of Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur added 68 runs to resurrect India’s innings. Although both took their time, they looked good during their stay with Raj playing some of her trademark cover drives while Kaur played a few sweep shots. But with England keeping it tight and runs hard to come by, Kaur played across a Cross delivery only to balloon it up back to the bowler to be dismissed for 19.
From there, it went from bad to worse for India, who lost Deepti Sharma (five) and Sneh Rana (five) in quick succession to find themselves at 168 for six in 39.1 overs even as Raj brought up her second fifty of the series at the other end. Cross continued her excellent day with wickets of Sharma and Rana giving her the second five-wicket haul in ODIs. She varied her length and used crossed-seam deliveries for good effect.
Post her fifty, Raj couldn’t accelerate with India losing two more wickets at the other end and was eventually run out for 59 trying to go for a third run in the 47th over. An enterprising 29-run last wicket partnership took India to 221 runs from their stipulated fifty overs as they were bowled out on the last ball of the final over.
For England, Cross finished with figures of five for 34 while Ecclestone took three wickets.
In reply, England started steadily with the Indian bowlers keeping it tight and only 16 runs came in the first five overs. In the fifth over, Jhulan Goswami castled Tammy Beaumont for just ten as she got the in-form batter rooted to the crease and playing across to a fuller delivery. Lauren Winfield-Hill eased into her innings scoring only 12 off 27 with Heather Knight at the other end also taking her time. India's opening bowlers Goswami and Shikha Pandey didn’t allow the England batter break free in the power play with the hosts’ score reading 37 for one in the first ten overs.
The introduction of Poonam Yadav saw Winfield-Hill attacking the leg-spinner and launching her straight for a six. Yadav struck in the next over as Knight stepped out and skied her to Goswami at mid-on for ten. Winfield-Hill added two more boundaries before Pandey snared her in her second spell with wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia taking a smart catch standing up to the stumps. In the same over, Natalie Sciver survived a close call when third umpire adjudged her not out as there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the soft signal of the catch Kaur took at mid-off.
However, Sciver could only add six more runs to her tally when she became Rana’s first victim on her return to ODI cricket after almost seven years with Bhatia taking another excellent catch behind the stumps.
From 92 for four, Jones and Sophia Dunkley took on the spinners and added 41 runs in quick time. Jones hit Yadav for three boundaries but was caught at point for 28 when she tried hoick across the stumps on a tossed-up delivery. Meanwhile, Dunkley grew in confidence, in the company of Brunt, played some impressive shots including a six over long-on off Pandey. The pair rotated the strike easily and combined with occasional boundaries.
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Dunkley, playing her first ODI innings, looked confident against the spinners and the pacers and brought up her fifty with a boundary off Pandey in the 42nd over. The duo continued on their way as they eased into the target at the back end of the innings during their 92-run partnership to help England clinch the series.
Brief Scores: India 221/10 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 59, Shafali Verma 44; Kate Cross 5/34, Sophie Ecclestone 3/33) lost to England 225/5 in 47.3 overs (Sophia Dunkley 73*, Poonam Yadav 2/63) by 5 wickets