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November 22, 2005
Close England 103 for 7 (Birch 14*, Morgan 1*) v India 289 (Raj 78, Jain 40, Chopra 65)
Unlike the men on their tour of the subcontinent, England's women have only one dart at Test glory. Unfortunately they got it badly wrong on the second day of the only Test after a hostile bowling display by India and they closed on 103 for 7, still 37 short of the follow-on.
Jhulan Goswami started the rot at Delhi, ripping through their top order to swing the match in India's favour, bowling a good line and finding some bounce. She forced both Laura Newton and Charlotte Edwards to play on then found Claire Taylor's edge, and all in a blink. At 25 for 3, England were in trouble and Rumeli Dhar soon made matters worse, trapping Jenny Gunn for 5 and bowling Lydia Greenway for 6 (49 for 5).
In dire straits, England dropped anchor, but Laura Harper fell for 10 after giving Shravanthi Naidu the charge. To seal a gloomy batting display for England while applying the icing to her cake, Goswami prised out Arran Brindle for 37 just before the close. This is a key wicket for India, Brindle having shown her stickability to save the first Ashes Test with a fine hundred at Hove this summer.
England's plans had hatched perfectly in the morning, with Harper taking her first five-wicket haul to give the visitors a bright start to their day as they made good their aim to remove India for below 300 on a turning pitch. Harper bowled all morning from one end until India were shot out. India's tail was not for the wagging, rather it was sagging, with Harper bagging four of the last five wickets which fell for 45.
Then it was England's turn to fold. But India thoroughly deserve to be in pole position following an assured display of bowling on a blameless pitch which is showing signs of turning, but which contains few demons.
Richard Bates, England's coach, pulled no punches in assessing the batting performance. "We can only point our fingers at ourselves," he told Cricinfo at the close of play. "We had planned to get stuck in to their bowling.Tomorrow we will need to show a bit of character. If we can save the follow-on and bowl well we will have a sniff." On today's evidence that's a big if.