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November 17, 2005
England Women 182 beat India A 145 (Jain 48, Birch 6-24) by 27 runs
England's men may be struggling with their tour of the subcontinent. Not so the women - four matches, four wins; so far, so good. And they will be highly encouraged by their latest triumph against a strong opposition yet, an India A side comprising seven Under-21s and four of the full side.
It was their first real test this tour, and a much-needed one ahead of the one-off Test at Delhi which starts next Tuesday and will in itself be a warm-up for the one-dayers which lie ahead.
True, this was a less-than-convincing performance from England's batsmen - they have that, at least, in common with their male counterparts - as they made 182 for 8 from their 50 overs. Their topscorer was Rosalie Birch, who made 30 at No 5.
More reassuring was their bowling and Birch again led the charge, taking six wickets to rip through the middle order at a vital time. India's opening pair had put on 67 between them, their batting slow but assured, but then they both fell on the same score; Karu Jain was run out for 48, Arran Brindle bowled 25-year-old Arundhati Kirkire for 29. Enter Birch who made sure that England's record was kept intact, as they followed up a 10-wicket win with victory by 27 runs to complete back-to-back one-day successes at Meerut.
England continued to shuffle their pack to give everyone a chance: Laura Newton and Beth Morgan dropped to the bench. Jo Watts and Jenny Gunn got the nod this time, but they were the only bowlers to go wicketless on this occasion. So confident were England of success this time that they announced before the game that their batting order would be entirely flexible. They weren't so confident as wickets were slowly tumbling, but they had done just enough.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.