Taylor underpins routine win
Sarah Taylor struck a magnificent half-century as England women eased to their 15th consecutive win, by 33 runs, in the first NatWest International T20 against India at Canterbury.
The 23-year-old hit 10 fours in a majestic 69, her fifth fifty in the shortest form, and was ably supported in a century stand by Laura Marsh, who struck 41, as Charlotte Edwards’ side posted 137 for five.
India never came close to threatening that total, edging to 104 for eight in the face of a disciplined England performance in the field.
The hosts suffered an early blow when Edwards was adjudged lbw by umpire Trevor Jesty with a single to her name, although replays suggested Nagarajan Niranjana’s delivery struck her outside the line of off stump via an inside edge.
Marsh almost followed soon after as she chipped Jhulan Goswami agonisingly short of mid-on, but the opener gradually began to find her rhythm, while Taylor had taken a clear liking to Goswami - essaying back-to-back fours on either side of the wicket.
Taylor survived a missed stumping chance off spinner Archana Das, but completed her half-century from 39 balls in the 14th as England moved into three figures.
A majestic drive through Taylor’s favoured cover region then secured the century stand before Gouher Sultana bowled Marsh.
Sultana’s second wicket was the crucial one; she juggled and eventually clinged on to a return catch from Taylor to leave England 114 for three with 19 balls remaining.
The momentum never really returned and both Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle were also dismissed before England’s innings closed.
Poonam Raut helped herself to a pair of lustily struck fours at the start of India’s response, but that would be the limit of their ambition.
Katherine Brunt snared Raut courtesy of a splendid diving catch by Greenway at point and trapped fellow opener Sharma playing across the line.
A laboured partnership of 30 in 40 balls between captain Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur did little to improve India’s prospects before the latter sent a return catch to Holly Colvin for 15.
The decision to promote Veda Krishnamurthy up the order bore little fruit as she lobbed a Brindle full toss to midwicket and Raj was stumped off the bowling of Marsh to leave the tourists 79 for five.
Wicketkeeper Sulakshana Naik, with 25, provided some belated impetus, striking the game’s first six before holing out to Greenway, a typically sensational performer in the field throughout, in the deep off Jenny Gunn.
Mona Meshram fell in similar fashion for nought to Danni Wyatt, who completed the India innings with a double-wicket-maiden when Taylor stumped Jhulan Goswami.