India v England, Women's Quadrangular, Chennai February 28, 2007

Sharma revels in career-best effort

Nishi Narayanan

India's eight-wicket victory against England has left them handsomely placed at the top of the quadrangular tournament table with 13 points from four matches and Amita Sharma, who led the way with a career-best haul, said it was all about creating pressure.

England were bowled out for 143 with Amita taking 4 for 16. "What I was looking for was to keep the scoring in check," she told Cricinfo. "I think the pressure of that got to them and they gave their wickets away."

Between the 13th and 16th overs three England wickets fell - Claire Taylor, Charlotte Edwards and Laura Newton - without any addition to the score. "Our team is more balanced than the others," Amita added. "All three of us - Rumeli [Dhar], Jhulan [Goswami] and myself - are in form right now."

After Amita's spell, England managed a brief revival between Lydia Greenway and Lynsey Askew for the eighth wicket - a partnership that saved them from the ignominy of folding for under 100. Greenway's 50 was England's top score and she said that the plan was too see out the seamers' overs. "We decided to hit the spinners over the field," she said. "Lynsey [Askew] and Laura [Marsh] played very positively and used their feet against them."

But 143 was unlikely to test the Indians and both Jaya Sharma and Karuna Jain made half-centuries in their second century partnership of the tournament. They attacked the England bowling from the start and had cruised to 51 in the first 10 overs.

"I was looking at particular gaps to hit through the field," Sharma said. "We have been playing well and are continuing our form. England really had nothing to defend. Their total was too small." But Sharma added there were still areas to work on. "There have been some lapses in our fielding and we have to look into that."

England's defeat was their fourth consecutive loss and they are now out of the reckoning for the final on March 5. Captain Charlotte Edward was again left to bemoan their lack of form. "We have been wayward with our bowling and no where near our potential in the games," she said.

"What we need is a bit of luck. We will be playing for a lot of pride in the remaining games. We also hope to be the ones who will create problems for the other teams wanting to make it to the final."

England's next match is against Australia on March 1 while India take on New Zealand.