On this day in 2014: Mithali Raj led Indian eves to victory over England


Indian men’s team was playing test series on their tour of England in 2014. After winning a test in Lords Indian team went completely lost their way and started to give up meekly. India had lost the 4th test by an innings and were looking like a team that didn’t know how to tackle moving ball. The fifth test was scheduled for 15-19 Aug.

Before the start of the fifth test, there was another match scheduled on 13-16 Aug 2014 that was being played between India & England women’s team. It was also eight years since Indian eves had last played a test and after such a long time they were playing in this format in against England in England which was never going to be easy as more travelling men were experiencing.

England team was lead by Charlette Edwards and had 9 players who had the experience of playing international test cricket. The Indian team was lead by Mithali Raj and there were 8 players who were making test debut which meant saying England start as favourites won’t sound arrogant. Pitch was supposed to be challenging with lots of sideways movement. Toss was going to be vital and Mithali did win to give her bowling a go with more help expected in initial sessions.

Bowlers were spot on and skittled out their counterparts for 92 with Sarah Taylor top-scoring with 30. Debutant Niranjana was rewarded for putting balls in right areas, got 4 wickets and others also chipped in. England team was not going to let the game slip and responded by bundling out India for 114, but the way it pitch was behaving 22 run lead was a significant one. England played well in second innings and posted 202 with Jenny Gunn scoring an unbeaten 62 following up with 5 wickets. India had the golden opportunity of winning the first test in England and the target was 183. Pitch had eased out considerably it still runs had to be scored and England was in their own den.

Smriti Mandhana scored a composed half-century to put them on track but a couple of wickets in middle order and India were 112/4 with Mithali at wicket joined by Shikha Pandey. Both played cautiously, concentrating on singles, and hitting boundary when the ball was there to be hit. Finally, when Shikha dispatched a ball to mid-wicket fence, India had recorded their first victory in England.

A semi-professional team was playing against a central contracted English team and had adapted better than opponents in alien conditions to come out triumphs.

It was a victory which should be top 5 achievements of Indian cricket.

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