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August 14, 2006
England 253 for 3 (Claire Taylor 156*, Newton 51) beat India 153 for 7 (Raj 59) by 100 runs
Taylor was outstanding and became the first English woman to score a century at Lord's, and only the second international player following Lisa Keightley's ton for Australia in 1998. It was a continuation of her fine form, which brought a hundred during the Test match at Leicester, and she made India pay for dropping her on 13 and 19.
To have any chance of chasing down the target, India needed a solid base to launch from but that hope vanished with incisive new-ball bursts from Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn. At 21 for 3 there was no way back despite the battling effort of their skipper, Mithali Raj, who proved the only significant contributions in India's limp chase.
They had started well after steady rain delayed play for two hours and claimed the vital early wicket of Charlotte Edwards in the third over, run out by Amita Sharma's direct hit from square leg. Sharma and Jhulan Goswami were making the new ball swing and seam in the overcast conditions and Taylor had her two slices of luck within six runs of each other; chances to mid-on and midwicket. It was the second mistake that left the crowd gasping as Taylor lofted an attempted sweep but Reema Malhotra dropped a regulation chance despite having three grabs at it.
However, Taylor still had to make the mistakes count and set about building on her reprieves. Newton was the ideal partner and they were both quick to rotate the strike, pushing the Indian fielders to their limits. Newton's fifty came off 91 balls before India made their second breakthrough, also via the run-out route, when Anjum Chopra produced a sharp piece of fielding from inside the fielding circle.
But there was no stopping Taylor as her century came from 110 balls and brought a standing ovation from the well-populated Grandstand plus a jubilant England balcony. Taylor scored an unbeaten half-century five years ago against Australia but this time it was double the joy.
England transferred their intensity with the bat into their performance with the ball as Brunt and Gunn gave nothing away. India knew they had to keep on top of a tough asking rate and that pressure showed in some of their shot selection. Gunn made the first breakthrough, when Rumeli Dhar drove a firm catch to Beth Morgan at cover, then Sulakshana Naik, the wicketkeeper, skied a catch to her opposite number Sarah Taylor who collected her first dismissal on debut. At 11 for 2 the warning signs were starting to show and they were flashing brightly when Chopra slapped a short ball from Brunt to square-leg.
Even though they had three key wickets in the bag, England remained focused and the fielding was significantly sharper than the Indians. Players threw themselves around to save every single and Isa Guha benefited from the suffocating effect when Hemlata Kala played round a straight one. Edwards brought on her spinners, including Newton who has spent the summer developing her offspin, and the Indians found them equally difficult to score off.
Raj refused to throw her wicket away but her team had long since consigned themselves to just batting out time. She had the satisfaction of a Lord's half-century but there was no chance of her stealing the limelight from Taylor's earlier effort. The women, as with the men, suffered a poor one-day series in India during the winter, going down 4-1. On home soil they want to hand back some of that punishment and couldn't have started more emphatically.
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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