England 188 for 7 (Edwards 68, Gunn 56) beat India 168 for 9 (Sumra 59) by 20 runs
India bounced back to level the series in the second one-dayer at Lucknow, but they made hard work of their run-chase after cruising in the early stages. Anjum Chopra was the star of the slow, surviving an injury scare to hit 71 and set up the four-wicket victory after England set them 163.
Under gloomy skies, there was nothing miserable about Chopra's bright knock even though play was held up at one stage for ten minutes after she flicked a leading edge into her face. But she carried on without further ado in her matchwinning innings. She was indeed the backbone, and with Monica Sumra she eased India to 95 before the first wicket fell. India were rolling along, but some tight bowling pegged them back before they finally edged home in the final over.
The bowling wasn't always on the button, though; sometimes it threatened to be more on the noggin. Rosalie Birch was particularly culpable, the ball twice slipped out of her hand and she delivered two no-balls which resulted in the rare indignity of a slow bowler being taken off for dangerous bowling.
But if it was hard work for the bowlers, it was equally difficult for the batsmen on a dull pitch with low bounce. Nevertheless, England's coach Richard Bates expected his charges to score 220 after opting to bat first. But their going was slow and it got tough early on when Amita Sharma knocked the stuffing out of the top order with three quick wickets. The middle order proved similarly wobbly.
"We should have been able to bounce back from there, though," said Bates, "our batting is full of depth." Still, partnerships were hard to come by and wickets were given away, puncturing any momentum until Caroline Atkins, at No 6, and Beth Morgan at No 8 stitched the innings back up. Together they put on 62 for the eighth wicket.
Jane Smit helped to rally the score, too - "the last three played sensibly, how the others should have done" Bates fumed - but even so, a total of 162 for 8 from 50 overs should never have posed too much of a problem. India weren't helped by a pitch which broke up during their innings, but they paced their innings well.
"We didn't deserve to win," said Bates, a sentiment echoed by England's captain Charlotte Edwards. "Electing to bat first was OK," she said, "but we did not play good shots. At 1-1 the series is nicely set up."
Mithali Raj, India's captain, was relieved that her team had recovered from defeat in the opener to bring themselves back into the series. While Bates was left to rue England's below-par performance, Raj was delighted that her side were firing on all cylinders. "It's good that we did well in all departments of the game," she said. The teams come together again on Sunday for the third of a five-match series which is wide open and up for the taking.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo