England women alive and kicking
A solid top-order effort ensured England women kept the NatWest Series versus India alive with victory by three wickets at Taunton in the third one-day international of five.
Having surprisingly lost the first two games, the hosts hit back today as important contributions from Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Taylor, Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle saw them chase 174 with 16 balls to spare.
India’s 173 for five - 44 more than they made in yesterday’s 14-run win at the same venue - was founded on 92 not out from captain Mithali Raj.
Like yesterday, Katherine Brunt and Georgia Elwiss led the home attack with aplomb - this time returning a combined 2-42 from 20 overs.
Raj’s counterpart Charlotte Edwards could manage only seven runs, but fellow opener Beaumont’s 44, 34 from Taylor and 20 from Greenway put England on course to triumph.
Despite Edwards’ side slipping from 140 for four to 168 for seven, Brindle’s unbeaten 40 ensured all to play for when the teams meet again on Sunday at Truro.
Edwards won her third toss of the rubber and Brunt soon rewarded her skipper’s decision by having Poonam Raut caught behind.
First-change Jenny Gunn’s opening ball snared Mona Meshram likewise, thanks to a great diving catch from Taylor who excelled throughout the innings.
Elwiss, showing outstanding consistency in just her seventh ODI, removed Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy became Taylor’s fourth victim, off Danni Wyatt, to leave the tourists 47 for four in the 27th over.
Raj, who was unbeaten on 92 at Lord’s in the first match, continued her fine form. She added 71 for the fifth wicket with Reema Malhotra, who fell for 24 to Wyatt courtesy of a catch at deep midwicket from fit-again Greenway.
Sulakshana Naik, who ended on 24 not out, put on 55 with Raj as India posted a competitive total.
Nagarajan Niranjana made an early breakthrough by trapping Edwards in front, but Beaumont and Taylor - the latter playing several trademark cover-drives - shared a stand worth 58 until she was stumped off Gouher Sultana.
Niranjana returned to bowl Beaumont, but Greenway steadied the chase before she became Sultana’s second victim.
That started a slide as Laura Marsh fell in Sultana’s next over, Archana Das had Heather Knight lbw and then snared Gunn.
However, Brindle, who played fluently through the covers, remained and Wyatt hit four off Das to complete victory.
Afterwards Beaumont said: "We bounced back well today. Georgia Elwiss and Katherine Brunt put a good partnership together at the beginning and we were positive with the bat, getting on top of the Indian bowlers.
"Personally, whilst it was pleasing to score runs I would like to kick on and do my best for the team and finish a game off. Hopefully I can do that in the next two matches.
"It was a good team performance today. We played positively, but there are still some areas we will look to improve. We'll take momentum forwards with us to Truro and look forward to the fourth match of the series on Sunday.”