HomeOn This DayOn This Day: In 2014, Mithali Raj Led Indian Eves Brings The Glory...

On This Day: In 2014, Mithali Raj Led Indian Eves Brings The Glory Back to India, Playing Test after 8 Years

“I am happy that I have played one more test, before hanging my boots.” – Mithali Raj, the proud Indian captain.

More than the win, she embraced the chance that she got to play one more test. Not many of us would understand that. But she knew the value of one more test match under her belt. Even after the test series victory in 2006, she was told that the team is not going to play any other test match.

It took 8 years to get another chance. In 2014, the Indian Team was ready to face the experienced English side who pulled out two successive Ashes win. On the other hand, Indian XI had 8 debutants. Not all of the Indian players had even played the multiday domestic games. All they had was the experience they got from the two days warm-up game against England academy before the test match. Apart from Mithali Raj, only Jhulan Goswami and Wicket-keeper Karuna Jain had played test before.

Paul Getty’s picturesque Wormsley Park Cricket ground in Buckinghamshire was surrounded by green on three sides and Children ridge on the fourth. Indian skipper Mithali Raj won the toss the decided to ball first. Jhulan Goswami took the responsibility to teach the nuances of the test cricket to pace attack. It seemed like her words fuel the four prone Indian attack really well as Indian seamer rattled the experienced England side.

Seamers especially Nagarajan Niranjana made life horrible for the English batter in a pitch that offered much to the seamers. She trapped Heather Knight in the 4th over to draw the first blood for India. Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway too fell to the debutant in the same way. Lauren Winfield was caught by Karuna Jain behind the wicket and Nagarajan’s 4/11 in the opening spell was beyond expectations.

Sarah Taylor who was fighting the lone battle was removed by Jhulan and after the lunch break. She topped the scoresheet with 30. In the next over, another debutant Subhlaxmi Sharma removed Nat Sciver and Anya Shrubsole in consecutive deliveries. While Sciver fell to a brilliant yorker, Shrubsole became another victim of LBW.

Team India
The Indian team celebrate their victory against England. ©Getty Images

Only 3 batters managed to reach in the double-digit and against any of the expectations the Indian side bundled England side in just 92 runs in 41 overs. Niranjana, who later admitted that Charlotte’s wicket was a special one, ended with a figure of 4/19 were clapped and praised for her effort by the Indian supporters.

In reply, debutant Smriti Mandhana (22) and Thirush Kamini (17) added 40 runs for the opening wicket but both of them fell to Gunn (5/19) as they caught behind by Taylor. Jenny Gunn was fierce and India lost 6 wickets in 24 runs. India was 64/6 and still one hour left of the first day.hulan and Naga survived the day. 16 wickets fell on the first day and, India was 87/6. Jhulan Goswami (16) and Nagarajan Niranjana (27) were removed on the first hour of 2nd day, but not before adding 31 runs to guide India to get a handy lead of 22 runs. Gunn took five wickets, conceding 19 runs.

Though in their 2nd innings England at one stage were 84/6, Taylor (40) and Gunn (62*) rescued England and safeguarded their nation to a total of 202, leaving India 181 runs to win to cling a memorable victory. The wicket was getting easier to bat on and, Jenny Gunn, who spearheaded to destroy the Indian batting in the first innings completed her half-century. The target could have been much bigger but Mithali Raj deployed Ekta Bisht after the two and half hours rain break. Her left arm spin-dried the run from one end only 33 runs in her 32 overs including two wickets.

Teenager Smriti Mandhana, who started playing cricket so that one day she can read her name in the pages on the newspaper was joined by another left-handed batter Thirus Kamini. Mandhana had shown her class in the rain-affected 2nd ODI she scored 76 runs in the lush green pitch. Her cover drives were matched by fluent on drives. The girl with the spectacles, who had scored unbeaten 224 for Maharstarea U-19 team, even earned praises from the gaint like Charlotte Edwards.

“She was facing really good bowling. But the manner in which she batted, was quite impressive. She is going to be a very very important player for India in the future.” Smriti became the 5th victim of Kate Cross in the match and 20th LBW victim of the match, a test match record after scoring her maiden half-century in the test. Her 51 came in pitch in a pitch where most of the senior members from both the teams faced difficulties to make runs.

Mithali Raj
Shikha Pandey and Mithali Raj led India to victory against England. ©Getty Images

When Harmanpreet was fell for a duck as 4th wicket, India was still 65 runs away. However, England bowlers had made a comeback in the test. In the final day, India needed 62 more runs and English bowlers have tested blood in the dying hours of the previous day as Kate Cross (3/42) took the role of the recurring chief. Besides Subhalxmi Sharma had dislocated her shoulder so there was no way that she can come out to bat.

On the morning of the final day, India was on verge of something special. On the same day when the Indian men team was fighting a lost battle against England at Lords Mithali was determined to bring the glory back to India.
So, overnight batters Mithali Raj and Shikha Pandey started cautiously, s they were controlling the chase, in the dressing room, other players with all their superstitions glued to their seat.

Edwards tried all the aces but Mithali Raj completed her half-century with a boundary. And in the very next over after playing two dots of the bowling off all-rounder Natalia Sciver, Shikha Pandey sent the ball through the cover to complete a convincing victory. The partnership of 65 off 207 between them turned out to be very crucial in the context of the game. India won the match by 6 wickets and the series by 1-0. Despite the defeat, Jenny Gunn became the Player of the Match for her superb display with ball and bat.

In her book Globalization of Women’s Cricket, Philippa Vellijja wrote that women cricket victories never got the due recognition like the mean cricket. This was again turned out to be the truth. While newspapers, back in India covered the humiliation at the Lords of the men’s team, most of them ignored that Indian women cricket team created a record that Indian men team is yet to achieve.

Playing after 8 years, with 8 debutantes, without any central contract, the Indian team led by Mithali Raj, won back to back series in England. While speaking to the reporters she too said that after this victory she hopes that Indian board hand them the due contract. The coveted contract came a year later, and the recognition after the 2017 World Cup.

Brief Score:

England 92 (Sarah Taylor 30, Niranjana Nagarajan 4/19) and 202 (Jenny Gunn 62*, Jhulan Goswami 4/48)

India 114 (Niranjana Nagarajan 27, Jenny Gunn 5/19) and 183/4 (Smriti Mandhana 51, Kate Cross 3/42)



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