Jhulan Goswami's fairytale Lord's farewell takes unexpected twist

India claimed a 3-0 sweep of the series but Deepti Sharma took the headlines

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
A last goodbye to Jhulan Goswami's fans, on the shoulders of her team-mates  •  ECB/Getty Images

A last goodbye to Jhulan Goswami's fans, on the shoulders of her team-mates  •  ECB/Getty Images

It was spine-tingling, tear-jerking stuff. Walking out at Lord's to bat in her final appearance for India, the legend that is Jhulan Goswami was met by a guard of honour, formed by the entire England fielding team, the umpires and her batting partner, Deepti Sharma.
Little did we know that Deepti would play a bigger role in Goswami's swansong than we could ever have expected.
When Deepti, who had scored an unbeaten half-century to drag her side to a respectable total from 29 for 4, ran out Charlie Dean while backing up on the last ball of the match to seal victory for India and a 3-0 ODI series sweep, it guaranteed that Goswami's farewell would be talked about for other reasons besides a sport's goodbye to a champion.
As she walked through that initial guard of honour, Goswami modestly waved to them all in appreciation, enjoying the moment. That it ended with her falling first ball attempting to drive at a fuller delivery that jagged back in from the 17-year-old seamer Freya Kemp - who wasn't born when Goswami made her international debut - didn't matter so much in the context of her goodbye. Goswami's batting wasn't what people had come to see.
It could well have mattered in the context of an innings where she was one of five India players to depart without scoring, although they managed to reach 169 before being bowled out in the 46th over. And again when Dean dragged England to within 17 runs of their target with a brilliant 47 batting at No. 9.
Goswami walked out to bowl through another guard of honour from her own team, which followed her almost all the way to the pitch.
Her first over was a maiden, then as Goswami knelt down to tie her laces at the end of her second, Harmanpreet Kaur, the India captain who made her debut when Goswami was in her shoes back in 2009, made a point of running by and patting her on the back. It was as though Harmanpreet wanted to cherish their proximity for as long as it lasted.
Hamanpreet had stood nearby as Goswami contested the toss and wrapped her former skipper in a tearful embrace during the team's pre-match presentation to their beloved stalwart.
The only time Goswami was alone was as she patrolled the boundary at deep backward square leg. Even as she stood at the top of her mark, all eyes were on her.
Those eyes turned into the arms of her team-mates and rapturous voices of the 15,187-strong crowd when Goswami had Alice Capsey simply caught by Harleen Deol at cover point.
"Goswami removed Cross playing across a full, straight one and a child-like grin broke out across her 39-year-old features as she was mobbed by her team-mates"
That made it 39 for 3 for England after Renuka Singh had removed Emma Lamb and Tammy Beaumont, the latter having noted on the eve of her 100th ODI that she had provided a healthy share of Goswami's record haul of 255 ODI wickets. In fact, Beaumont had fallen to Goswami eight times among her 20 dismissals in the format against India before this match, where it was Renuka who did the damage this time, bowling Beaumont with one that shaped in off a length to clatter into the top of off stump.
Renuka mirrored the feats of Kate Cross, who had threatened to ruin Goswami's party as she found formidable movement off the seam bowling down the slope from the Pavilion End to claim 4 for 26.
As it turned out, this became a storyline shared by Cross and Goswami with Renuka - playing her seventh ODI at the age of 26 - providing an epilogue which pointed to the next edition before that last moment opened a new chapter.
Having missed selection in England's 2017 World Cup squad and sat in the stands as the hosts defeated India in a thriller - the last time Lord's staged a women's international - this day held huge significance for Cross, too.
She had 3 for 3 in 3.2 overs at one point and accounted for India's top four. It was reminiscent of Cross' match-defining performance against the same opposition at Taunton in June last year. On that occasion, however, Cross sealed her five-for in a winning cause. This time, as England's batting misfired, it looked like being India's day.
Goswami took a low catch at slip to remove Sophie Ecclestone off Rajeshwari Gayakwad as England slid to 53 for 6 and, with the hosts flagging wildly at 111 for 8, Harmanpreet brought Goswami back into the attack for her eighth over, from which she conceded two runs.
A maiden followed and then, with just five balls left to bowl in a stellar international career, she removed Cross playing across a full, straight one - Goswami's 10,001st ODI delivery - and a child-like grin broke out across Goswami's 39-year-old features as she was mobbed by her team-mates.
Surrounded again at the end of the over, completed with four dot balls, it was over - almost. On the very next ball, from Deepti, Goswami got her hands to an edge at slip off Dean, but what would have been the last wicket to fall and a fairytale finish slipped through her fingers.
At that point England still needed 52 runs from 13.5 overs with just one wicket in hand and it felt very much as though India - even with Goswami bowled out - had it in them to win.
Then Dean and Freya Davies dug in for 35 runs and the match got tense. So it was with a degree of disbelief that it would come to be remembered largely for the way in which it ended. Dean's dismissal was within the rules of the game but it meant that it ended amid a cacophony of boos as well as cheers.
A devastated Dean threw her bat to the ground, tears streaming down her face before composing herself and heading to the Indian huddle to shake their hands. Moments later, Goswami was being chaired to the edge of the field to embark on a lap of honour carrying the Indian flag and flanked by her team-mates in a moment of sweet celebration that couldn't completely mask a slightly bitter undertone

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo