17th over: India 95-2 (Mandhana 37, Kaur 14) I love the way Smiriti goes about her batting: she’s so calm and correct in how she gets into position to play the ball and, like so many of the best players, of anything, she always has time. Anyhow, three singles comes from Kemp’s first four balls, then a drag-down allows Harmanpreet to yank around the corner for four to deep backward square. The partnership is now 29 off 34, and again, England could use something.
16th over: India 88-2 (Mandhana 35, Kaur 9) Ecclestone into the attack and this contest might be pivotal: if she does well, England will fancy themselves to roll India for something nice, but if she doesn’t, they’ll have a problem. So Kaur takes her loosener to cover … then Mandhana gets into a great position, launching six over wide long on! She made that look so easy, picking length, dancing down, and carting ball. One more follows, and India are still going well – but if England can break this partnership, the match is there for them.
15th over: India 80-2 (Mandhana 28, Kaur 8) Gosh, that Essex v Lancashire match I mentioned – Lanky have won it by 38 runs having been 7-6 in their second innings, skittling Essex for 59 after posing two monsters of 131 and 73. That is ridiculous. Anyhow, Kemp – who, I meant to note is 17 – continues. She actually gets lucky when she strays wide, Kaur picking out the sweeper at deep cover when I was sure the ball was going to fence, and they run one, the second single of the over.
14th over: India 78-2 (Mandhana 27, Kaur 7) Ach, just when England were exerting a little pressure, two wides follows a wide while, in comms, it’s wondered whether England could be a bit more aggressive with their field placings. I guess the point is to make sure India don’t make something huge because England back themselves to chase any score that isn’t, but in the meantime, two singles and a two make this another expensivish over – and Harmanpreet will now consider herself in. That’s drinks.
13th over: India 71-2 (Mandhana 26, Kaur 4) You know what, I said Dean’s palms would be stinging from that catch, but she got herself into such a good position and took the ball with such soft hands that I doubt she even felt it. Anyhow, the batters take a single apiece from the first two balls of Kemp’s latest over, then Kaur lifts down the ground for two. The more I watch of this, the more I wonder whether England erred in leaving out Wong, who offers them something a little different – pace and teeth music – though I know she can be expensive, as she was on Sunday.
12th over: India 67-2 (Mandhana 24, Kaur 0) The bad news, of course, is that Harmanpreet is now at the wicket, and after confidently presenting the full face, she turns to backward point for the single that sets her away.
WICKET! Bhatia c&b Dean 26 (India 66-2)
That’s a grab! Bhatia comes down and absolutely leathers a full toss … but Dean gets down to collect low! Her palms will be stinging, but she won’t mind – she and her team needed that, badly.
11th over: India 65-1 (Mandhana 24, Bhatia 26) Are England putting the breaks on? One from the first three deliveries of Kemp’s over, Mandhana pressing to cover … but then she offers Bhatia a smidge of width and the ball is eased to the fence at backward point. India are going well here, but helped by England who are offering a four-ball in almost every over.
10th over: India 60-1 (Mandhana 22, Bhatia 23) Dean is on for Cross, and she’ll be turning the ball up the slope and into the two lefties … who take singles from each of her first five deliveries. The sixth is a dot, and that was a decent, if slightly expensive start.
9th over: India 56-1 (Mandhana 21, Bhatia 20) Kemp, on d’boo and with Jones standing up, replaces Bell, and Mandhana takes her first ball for one to square leg. Another single follows, Bhatia forcing to third man, and that’s England’s most economical over of the match so far, just two from it.
8th over: India 54-1 (Mandhana 20, Bhatia 19) England need something here, because Mandhana, offered width by Cross’ first ball, waits before timing four more to backward point. Eesh, and when the third delivery is on the pads, Smriti doesnot miss out, easily glancing away for four to score her 3000th ODI run; only Wolvaardt and Rolton have reached that landmark faster. The current rate is 6.75.
7th over: India 45-1 (Mandhana 11, Bhatia 19) Shot! Mandhana leans down the track – oh my days, as the ball arrives and she realises it’s there for her, you see her eyes widen and light up – then glides four through cover. A single follows, then Bell moves one away from Bhatia, who follows it with her hands and misses – with the swing she’s finding, the bowler’s in the game – but so is Yastika Bhatia, who again grooves down the track, makes room, and eases a cover-drive to the fence. This pair are seeing it.
6th over: India 36-1 (Mandhana 6, Bhatia 15) Mandhana jabs down the ground, but Cross, following-through, isn’t in a position to snaffle the snaffle. A leg-side wide follows, then Bhatia skips down and leg side, making room to flash an aerial drive past cover’s dive and to the fence. India are not waiting to be asked here.
5th over: India 30-1 (Mandhana 5, Bhatia 11) Bhatia takes one to midwicket, then a leg bye and a wide keep the scoreboard ticking. These are the only runs off the over, but England are allowing the shine off the ball without threatening the stumps that much – though, as I type that, Bell again hits the pad … but again, the ball pitched outside leg, if not as obviously.
4th over: India 27-1 (Mandhana 5, Bhatia 10) Oh India are into this now, Bhatia pushing three to the long boundary at extra before Mandhana shows the nick she’s in, getting off the mark after eight balls without scoring by flourishing a delectable straight drive for four. Two singles follow, and if England don’t take wickets, they cold be chasing something significant.
3rd over: India 18-1 (Mandhana 0, Bhatia 6) Bell, seeking swing, pitches right up to Bhatia, who waits for it in order to flay a square drive for four through point. A single follows, then two deliveries later a huge appeal when the lefty Mandhana misses a pull, also having to kick away from her stumps; but I don’t think that was a difficult call for the umpire, as the ball pitched well outside leg. Better from Bell, though.
2nd over: India 13-1 (Mandhana 0, Bhatia 1) The ball’s doing a bit out there and Bhatia shoves her first look at it towards slip and takes one; two dots complete the over but Mandhana will be relieved to still be out there having flicked a half-volley that drops just short of Lamb at midwicket. That was a bazzing start from Cross.
WICKET! Verma b Cross 8 (India 12-1)
Excellent bowling from Cross, a fine wobble-seamer nipping in a little off the pitch before holding its line to whoosh through the gate and clatter the timber, top of middle and off! Mazal tov again!
2nd over: India 12-0 (Verma 8, Mandhana 0) Cross takes the new globule from the Pavilion End and, unsurprisingly given her decent effort at the weekend, is on the money right away.
1st over: India 12-0 (Verma 8, Mandhana 0) For the time being, we’ve nae DRS – some kind of technical issue is the problem, so we should get to it presently. In the meantime, Bell bounds in in that looping style and sends down consecutive wides, off followed by leg. Eeesh, then it’s back to width on the off and Shafali takes a step down, then clatters four through point before carving four more through where second slip isn’t. England have had better starts, and two wides follow; can Bell get out of what’s already a slightly embarrassing opening over with no further damage? She can, walking away after two dots almost relieved to have only gone for 12.
Lauren Bell has the ball, Shafali is facing, and off we go!
Here come the umpires and teams, as we learn that Charlotte Edwards, though interested in the position at some point, doesn’t feel it’s yet her time to coach England. Oh, and here’s the aforementioned Collins on comms! Go on the OBO!
On the Ashes, an important scheduling note from the OBO’s Adam Collins:
Lisa Keightly, who finishes her stint with England at Lord’s, says she felt the run till the T20 World Cup in February was a long one, given the time she’s spent away from her wife – who’s started a real estate agency so isn’t able to travel – and family. So she decided it was best for the team to knock it on the head now, giving the new coach a decent run-up on the road to South Africa.
I can’t lie, I’m a tad disappointed there’s no Wong. I like Bell too, but well, Issy is Issy.
England 1 Tammy Beaumont, 2 Emma Lamb, 3 Sophia Dunkley, 4 Alice Capsey, 5 Danni Wyatt, 6 Amy Jones (capt & wk), 7 Freya Kemp, 8 Sophie Ecclestone, 9 Charlie Dean, 10 Kate Cross, 11 Lauren Bell.
India 1 Smriti Mandhana, 2 Shafali Verma, 3 Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), 4 Harleen Deol, 5 Yastika Bhatia (wk), 6 Deepti Sharma, 7 Pooja Vastrakar, 8 Jhulan Goswami, 9 Dayalan Hemalatha, 10 Rajeshwari Gayakwad, 11 Renuka Singh Thakur.
“It’s always better to have it and no need it, than need it and not have it,” says Kate Cross quite beautifully. “I’ve retired four or five times in my own head,” she continues, saying she’s not bothered about stats or milestones, she plays because she enjoys it, but it’s still nice and her parents are at the ground to watch her. Naches!
On Sky, an impassioned Dominic Cork is expressing his relief that the Ashes Test is a five-dayer. He’s not wrong, and how great that it’s at Trent Bridge too. It should never have taken this long, but we’re here now.
I didn’t say this in the preamble so as not to seem partisan, but if England can win today, they’ll set up a series finale at Lord’s – where they’ve not played, save in tournaments, since 2014, and at all since 2017.
India would’ve bowled too, but Harmanpreet reckons it’s a decent track, so isn’t too perturbed; is she ever? Her team shows, two changes, Meghna and Sneh dropping out with Renuka and Hemalatha coming in,
Kate Cross wins her 50th cap – mazal tov to her, a titan of English cricket.
England win the toss and bowl
Amy Jones thinks it’s a good wicket and might improve under the lights. After chastening defeat, the plan is to focus on themselves and do what they do best. Lauren Bell replaces Wong and Freya Kemp is in for her debut, replacing Alice Davidson-Richards.
Righto, here’s the toss. I daresay whoever wins it has a bowl.
And another from my youth in 1996, Chappie Chapple taking 6-18 as Lancashire beat Essex.
Here’s a prime example from my childhood: Daffy DeFreitas reducing Northants to 39-5 in the 1990 Nat West Trophy final.
I wonder how the pitch will play today. There was a point yesterday at which Lancashire were 7-6 and they were eventually all out for 73; Essex are now 28-4 needing 70 more to win. And, at the same time, title-chasing Hants were in the process of being dismissed for 57. As I said below, the joy of September cricket in England.
Tell you what, an Ashes double-header though. Ooooh yeah!
Also for your delectation…
It’s strange the way cricket works: here, we have two fine and well-matched teams, but so far, through three T20 internationals and one ODI, we’ve not had the arse-nipper they and we deserve; hopefully today makes that right.
But in the meantime, what an effort from India on Sunday. England didn’t bat well, it’s true, reliant on their lower-order for their semi-competitive score. India, though, bowled with terrific threat and economy, before knocking off the runs with minimum fuss and maximum prejudice.
None of this means we’ll see something similar this afternoon, but. England have so much firepower it seems unlikely their gun batters will all fail again, just as it seems unlikely that Issy Wong, their strike bowler, will get so severely clouted again. The thing is, even if we assume that to be true, India have more than enough to beat a firing England … and the reverse is also true.
All of which is to say that, given the basic joy of international cricket; the unusual joy of international cricket, in the green and pleasants, towards the end of September; and the specific joy of these two teams, playing international cricket, in the green and pleasants, towards the end of September; we’re in for an absolute treat. Go well, mates.
Play: 1pm BST