Spinners help India level the series
India 126 for 7 (Naik 36, Harmanpreet 33, Hazell 3-20, Marsh 3-29) beat England 96 (Greenway 29, Raut 3-12) by 30 runs
India's young spinners helped their team level the series with a convincing 30-run win, bowling England out while defending a total of 126. Poonam Raut, Gouher Sultana and debutant Diana David combined to take the last six wickets for 16 runs and England were left to rue how they had yet again stumbled in a low-scoring chase.
What was more impressive about India's win was that they were missing their strike bowler and captain Jhulan Goswami because of an injury. However it was the spinners that England struggled against. Lydia Greenway, the innings' top scorer with 29, managed to hit fours against Soniya Dabir (23 off two overs), but had to satisfy herself with singles and twos off the others.
At the end of 10 overs, England were 45 for 3, compared to India, who had been 57 for 2. Dabir's second over boosted England's total by 13 runs. Greenway hit her two fours - one to cover and the other reverse-swept to third man and, by the end of 16 overs, England were 80 for 5. Greenway, who had added 35 at six an over with Danielle Hazell, was run out going for the second run. Four balls later Katherine Brunt popped a catch to Rumeli Dhar for off David for 1.
Raut conceded only two runs in the 17th over and took two wickets - Danielle Wyatt edged to keeper and Caroline Atkins was caught for a duck. England needed 45 off the last three overs but once Hazell was stumped off Sultana for 18, it was only left to see whether they could bat out 20 overs. Raut bowled Nicky Shaw and Sultana had Laura Marsh stumped, so India won with four balls to spare.
The result had looked unlikely at the end of India's innings after offspinners Marsh and Hazell took three wickets each. But while Dabir had a disappointing day with the ball, her 29-run seventh-wicket stand with Dhar proved crucial to India's total. First Sulakshana Naik and Harmanpreet Kaur steadied the innings with a 22-run partnership for the third wicket. The two swept the spinners and ran hard for singles even off edges before Naik was caught at long-off by Jenny Gunn off Hazell for the top score of 36. While England managed only 14 off the last three overs, India, though they were under pressure and had fewer wickets, made 33.
The final match of the series will be played on Monday and the winner will take greater confidence into the World Twenty20 in West Indies in May.