England v India Test - Women's
Late wickets boost England after record Indian stand
An eventful day two saw an outstanding opening partnership from Verma and Mandhana before five late wickets put the hosts back on top
18 June 2021, 07:44 AM AEST
A flurry of late wickets has kept England on top at stumps on day two of their one-off Test against India in Bristol.
Despite a 167-run opening stand between teenager Shafali Verma (96) and Smriti Mandhana (78) – a record for India in Tests – England were able to go to the close with the upper hand due to a spectacular collapse of 5-16 in the final hour of the day.
After Kate Cross claimed the initial breakthrough of Verma, who lashed out in search of what would have been a hundred on Test debut and was caught at mid off, the next four wickets fell in the space of 10 overs, with the off-spin of Heather Knight (2-1 from six overs) accounting for both Shikha Pandey (0) and Punam Raut (2).
It left India 5-187 in response to the hosts' 9-396d at the halfway point of the match. The declaration didn't come until the second session, after some enterprising batting from England's lone debutant in the match, Sophia Dunkley, who hit a fine 74no from No6, and No11 Anya Shrubsole, who blazed a quick-fire 47no from just 33 deliveries.
The change of innings brought to the middle the youthful pair of Verma and Mandhana, and the right-and-left-hand combination looked in ominous touch in blazing boundaries all around the County Ground.
The pair spent more than three hours together at the crease, with 17-year-old Verma collecting 13 fours and two sixes and pipping Knight by a single for the highest score of the match.
Mandhana was typically classy in compiling her half-century but the 24-year-old also led a charmed life, surviving chances on 23, 41 and 51 as India looked to build a solid response to England's daunting first-innings total.
Those plans were in tatters by stumps however, with the visitors still trailing by 209 with just five wickets in hand.