The test match is over and finally we can walk away with something to be proud of. Well, a number of things. Top of the list is the opening partnership between Caroline and Arran, which showed application and steadiness. Purists might argue that by batting slowly we killed the game - but I would disagree.
We have played three ODIs in which our batting has been weak; wickets have been lost carelessly and here was a test match that demanded something much more applied. Their performance not only set a new world record but affirmed that we are developing and thus heading in the right direction. It has been a trophy for us all and one that we can draw on in the next two ODIs. The world record having been set by such a young opening partnership also bodes well for the future.
With losing so much of the 3rd day due to very heavy overnight rain, the dynamic of the game changed at the beginning of the fourth day. With one wicket down, the Indian side would need to bat out the day. As the day wore on, the game shaped up to be a much more specific contest - the Indians were going to try to reach our score and surpass it by the end of the day. They lost two key batters - Chopra and Jain - the latter being brilliantly caught out of her crease by Jane Cassar and a quick thinking Arran Thompson.
This signalled the arrival of Raj, a very accomplished bat, who despite her slight figure can hit the ball as powerfully as anyone. But Dawn Holden bowled her, fourth ball. A sweet moment indeed. Hemalta, who went on to score a ton, was dropped early on and this perhaps allowed for the excitement and challenge of the last hour, which saw India coasting toward our target. A great catch from Caroline brought her demise and the beginning of something special. We knew that the challenge would be to keep India away from our score, but they had only to get 15 runs, with six wickets in hand.
They lost five of those wickets over 10 runs as their tail was exposed and we took advantage of their nervousness. And with the last wicket came the end of time - they were three runs short if I remember rightly. It felt as though we had won. It was particularly good to see Laura Newton bowling so well (21-10-24-0). She is a star in the making. Lucknow has been a very generous host and we have been showered with gifts and invitations. Blazers have been made for each of us to commemorate the test and with each game there are trophies for every player. The residents of match venues are keen to show their hospitality, and there often is not the time to do all that they ask.
Crowds at the games have been entertained by the ever youthful Clare Taylor, who manages to find fans wherever she goes. Schoolchildren and cricket fans clamour for autographs at every turn, and we are always shown the greatest respect. The players have been patient at some very testing times - not least the day before the test match as we waited at Delhi airport for over nine hours, having missed our flight. Not a single person complained; instead out came the cards, the books, the internet and people happily kept themselves entertained. One of this day's highlights was Caroline's performance - on her 21st birthday too - as paid the forfeit for losing at cards the night before. She had to dress in a bikini and sing happy birthday to herself in the middle of Delhi airport! Another trophy, we all felt.
A few nomadic Barmy Army fans have supported and entertained us over the last week. It's been good to have them around, enthusiastic and 100% supportive, they have rallied the crowds, deliberately standing in amongst the largest crowds of Indian supporters and chanting for England. They are celebrities in their own right.
Tonight we fly to Bombay, for tomorrow's practice match and ODI. This final week is as hectic as that which has gone before, but we look forward to it. Let's hope that we continue finding things to celebrate!!