Mithali Raj leads from front as India's women down England
India captain Mithali Raj ensured her side's return to Test cricket after an eight-year absence ended triumphantly as they beat England by six wickets in a one-off encounter on Saturday. Ray made exactly 50 not out, her fourth Test half-century as India won on the fourth and final day at Wormsley, north of London, although it was batting partner Shikha Pandey (26 not out) who struck the runs that clinched victory.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014
"I am very happy that I have got to play another Test and I am especially happy for the young girls in the side," said Raj, eight of whose team were making their Test debuts. "Test matches feel very different and this victory feels very special," she added. Disappointed England captain Charlotte Edwards said: "There was a huge amount of belief in the team coming here this morning because of our previous experience of Test cricket, but it just wasn't to be.
"Great credit must be given to India and Mithali for sticking to their task and seeing it through." It was a timely success for the often overlooked India women's team, coming as it did with the men's side 2-1 down and struggling in the finale of their five-Test series with England at The Oval. India, chasing 181 to win in their second innings, finished on 183 for four as England's women suffered defeat in their first match since the country's leading players were placed on professional contracts.
The tourists had been on top from the start, bowling England out for just 92 on the first day. Nagarajan Niranjana took four wickets on her Test debut, with England losing a new women's Test record seven wickets to lbw decisions. Although India could only manage 114 in reply, they dismissed England for 202 in their second innings with the experienced Jhulan Goswami taking four for 48.