Women’s Test: Shafali saves India from slipping on rainy day (Ld)

Opener Shafali Verma on Friday once again led from the front with an aggressive rear-guard, unbeaten 55 as the Indian women’s team ended the rain-affected third day of the one-off Test at 83 for one wicket after host England asked them to follow on. No play was possible after tea due to rain.

Despite the effort of 17-year-old Shafali (68 balls, 11x4s), who had made 96 in first innings, India still trail England by 82 runs. Deepti Sharma (batting 18 off 66 balls, 2x4s), promoted to No. 3, was at the crease with her at the end of the penultimate day of the match.

India lost the wicket of Smriti Mandhana early in second innings. The left-hander fell to pace bowler Katherine Brunt for a 13-ball eight.

However, Shafali, who has already hit 11 fours in her second innings, and Deepti have so far added unbeaten 54 for the second wicket.

Earlier, left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone’s four for 88 helped England women dismiss Indian women for 231 and take a 165-run lead on first innings.

India, who had got off to a strong start with a 167-run stand between Shafali Verma (96) and Smriti Mandhana (78), lost track late on the second day on Thursday as they lost five wickets for 16 runs to finish the day at 187 for five.

The third morning session did not bring any luck or resistance from India as they lost both Harmanpreet Kaur and Taniya Bhatia without the addition of any score.

At 197/8 after the fall of Sneh Rana, it looked like India would not reach even 200. However, Pooja Vastrakar and Deepti Sharma added 33 for the ninth wicket to avoi further embarrassment.

Skipper Heather Knight took two wickets for seven runs with her off-spin. Altogether, six of India’s wickets fell to spin.

Brief scores (Stumps, Day 3): England women 396/9 declared; Indian women 231 all out (S Verma 96, S Mandhana 78, S Ecclestone 4/88) and 83/1 (S Verma 55 batting, Deepti Sharma 18 batting)

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