The Indian men's cricket team has disappointed with their spineless performance in the last three weeks but the women counterparts showed steely temperament as they made a remarkable comeback into the Test fold, beating England eves by six wickets in Wormsley on Saturday.
Skipper Mithali Raj led from the front with a gutsy unbeaten 50 as Indian eves surpassed a competitive target of 181 runs with consummate ease. The fifth wicket pair of Mithali and Shikha Pandey (28 not out) added 68 runs to ensure a smooth sailing on the final day.
This is the first Test that the eves played after a eight-year hiatus with eight players in the starting XI making their Test debut. The women's team also achieved a remarkable feat, which the Indian men have never achieved in England, by winning back-to-back Test series, having won the one-off 'Test' at Taunton in 2006, which incidentally was also the last time that the likes of Mithali and Jhulan Goswami were seen in white flannels.
Two of the three existing members of that team (third being Karuna Jain), skipper Mithali and pace spearhead Jhulan, have played an important role even this time. While the lanky Bengal medium pacer took six wickets in the game, Mithali, who had scored 65 during the last Test, anchored the chase with a lot of resolve.
Starting the day at 119 for four, Indians required only 62 runs more on the final day after opener Smriti Mandhana's impressive 51 with an opening partnership of 76 with Thirush Kamini (28), laid the foundation of a memorable victory. On the day, with pitch having eased out, Indian batswomen did not have any problems tackling rival medium pacers -- Jenny Gunn and Kate Cross.
Mithali had four boundaries in her innings, while Shikha hit two fours during her knock.