England v India, only women's Test, Wormsley, 4th day August 16, 2014

India complete landmark victory

Melinda Farrell at Wormsley

India Women 114 (Gunn 5-19) and 183 for 4 (Mandhana 51, Raj 50*) beat England Women 92 (Niranjana 4-19) and 202 (Gunn 62*, Taylor 40, Goswami 4-48) by six wickets

Play 01:33
Farrell: Remarkable victory for Indian women

When India Women secured their first ever Test victory against England it was Mithali Raj who hit the winning runs.

So there was a fitting symmetry that, eight years later, the Indian captain was unbeaten again and, while she did not score the final runs this time around, she was the key figure in the middle as she guided her team to another historic win.

Raj did it in magnificent style, playing an assured and intelligent innings alongside Shikha Pandey, as she calmly lifted the game out of England's reach on the final morning of the standalone Test at Wormsley.

India's requirement of a further 62 may have looked relatively simple, particularly with six wickets in hand on a flattening pitch, but in the context of this low-scoring match it was no surprise that Raj admitted to feeling nervous overnight.

Raj teased and frustrated England by consistently angling the bat and guiding the ball to third man with soft hands. When England put in a slip, she simply adjusted her timing and found the gap.

As victory drew closer she refused to give in to temptation, patiently taking the singles and waiting for her opportunity to strike. With nine runs needed she drove imperiously to the boundary and then brought up her half-century with another single. The match was hers.

She gave her opponents one chance, dropped when she smashed a Jenny Gunn delivery to Charlotte Edwards.

It was particularly unfortunate for Gunn, whose five-wicket haul and second innings half-century deservedly earned her the player of the match award.

As the England players watched the match slip away the Indian contingent hovered with evident excitement by the boundary. When Pandey dispatched Nat Sciver through the covers to pass the target her team-mates were halfway to the wicket before the ball had crossed the rope, mobbing their captain in delight as they celebrated victory in a format that is so rare.

"On a personal note, when I played the last Test and I got to know we wouldn't be playing any more it was sad for me," Raj said. "As a cricketer, you want to play more Test matches as it will challenge all your endurance levels. It's challenging but I am very happy that before I hang up my boots I got to win another Test."

The final two days were in stark contrast to the first two. The toss proved vital and Raj, who joked afterwards that she hardly ever chooses the right side of the coin, was given a huge advantage when she was able to give her bowlers the chance to attack with the seaming ball on a pitch that proved to be a minefield for the batsmen in the early sessions.

Edwards acknowledged after the match that few sides can go on to secure victory after making a first innings total of 92.

"We didn't play good options when we were batting," Edwards said. "I think they bowled well. Sometimes credit has to go to the opposition. Some of the decisions didn't go our way as well so that combined meant that we didn't quite get ourselves into the game."

But this match, along with the upcoming three one-day internationals between the two sides, need to be seen in a wider context.

There was far more at stake here than a winning total on a scorecard. This was a semi-professional team, containing eight debutants, taking on a well-supported England side whose players are centrally contracted and recently attracted stand-alone sponsorship.

It was a team whose players were on foreign soil, most of them experiencing English conditions for the first time and, ultimately, adapting better than their opponents.

And it was a team that must be aware that, by beating a well-resourced and highly fancied England side, questions should be raised as to why the world's richest cricket board is lagging behind their less wealthy counterparts in rewarding their players.

"Once you start playing well, you will get more support," Raj said. "I'm sure that if we start winning matches and bigger series the BCCI will someday take up this issue of payment."

For the sake of the future of women's cricket in India, one can only hope the right people are paying attention.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AbdulHameed on August 18, 2014, 16:42 GMT

    BCCI should support women's cricket in India, they should shelve the step-motherly attitude meted out to them. Instead of spending lavishly on these good for nothing men's cricket team they should spend at least a quarter of the sum for women's cricket. They need encouragement and PLEASE, PLEASE FOR INDIA'S SAKE SCRAP THIS CIRCUS OF IPL which is killing Indian cricket.

  • manish on August 18, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    this is most embarrassing for the Indian men cricket team as they loose the series with no fight. I heartly congratulates the Indian women cricket team for there great win in england.

  • AbdulHameed on August 17, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    Please recall the men's team and send the women's team for the ODIs.

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Congratulations India and good on you Suda it is not easy to win a Test, but to win one in England is a fantastic achievement, Well done

  • Dysan on August 17, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Considering the fantastic form of the English Women's Cricket Team (Winning the Ashes and incredible performances last year), it's heartening to see Indian Women's Cricket Team beat them convincingly, that too with 8 debutantes. They deserve to play more Matches in the future. Here's wishing them good luck for the upcoming matches.

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    How does the womens team without a test in 8 years and 8 debutantes beat a world class English team and the men with unlimited resources, over the top coverage and massive ego get beat by innings defeat after defeat?

    The answer lies in determination and desire! Enough said.

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    They need to support Women's Cricket. The Women should be able to play Ranji Trophy, alongside men, if they are good. The Women can only get better, this way.

  • Mohan on August 17, 2014, 1:28 GMT

    It is not often that cricinfo publishes my comments even when there are few others. Could be my comments are too acidic at times, but then I expect Cricinfo to have the stomach to print them, so I hope You do. That said, FIRSTLY - KUDOS to the Indian Women's team for their great achievement. The Indian men's team could do well to take a leaf out of the Women's book. SECONDLY - I believe Mr. Gavaskar is still at the helm of the BCCI affair's - I pray that he take this opportunity for some historic action in support of the women's cricket. All the BCCI and other Cricket admin in India really care for is power play. No wonder Indian women are playing a Test after 8 years! It is unfortunate that BCCI does so little - since as it is the dice is heavily loaded against women and they usually have to put in twice the effort in life to break thru all the resistance to get the deserved opportunities. SO BCCI - please take a small step to advance a giant step for Women's cricket!

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    Congratulations ladies!!. I knew a lot depended on Mithali Raj to secure victory for India once the openers fell, but credit should also go to a debutant like Shikha Pandey who played her part supporting Raj till victory was assured. Credit should also go to the openers Mandhana and Kamini for having laid a solid platform in the chase. Actually credit should go to the whole team (a semi professional team containing 8 debutants) who played as a unit where each one played their part in securing this fantastic victory and that too in England. Now, the BCCI should give you more chances and as Melinda Farrell says "by beating a well-resourced and highly fancied England side, questions should be raised as to why the world's richest cricket board is lagging behind their less wealthy counterparts in rewarding their players". The BCCI should invest on you ladies rather than the overhyped Indian men's team. You deserve it. Hope you can take this momentum into the ODI's as well. All the best.

  • Naresh on August 16, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    BCCI take note - This team deserves recognition. WELL DONE to RAJ and team. Maybe the mens team can wake out of their slumber and achieve victory thru sheer determination.

  • No featured comments at the moment.