Bristol: The England players resorted to “constant sledging” to disturb Sneh Rana and Co but they maintained their composure to pull off a thrilling draw for the Indian women’s team in the one off Test in Bristol.
It was a tale of debutants as Shafali Verma (96 and 63), Deepti Sharma (3/65, 29* and 54), Taniya Bhatia (0 and 44*), Rana (4/131, 2 and 80*) and Pooja Vastrakar (1/53, 12 and 12) took the centrestage to eke out a draw after being followed-on in India’s first Test after seven years.
Needing two wickets in the final session, England bowlers were on top and used all the tactics with close-in fielders and constant sledging but Sneh and Bhatia remained unfazed.
“It was their job to disturb us, and they kept on doing so many things to achieve their goal,” Rana, who scripted a heroic act with Bhatia in their century-plus unbroken nine wicket partnership, said at a virtual post-match conference on Saturday night.
“We did not pay any attention and kept on talking to each other after every ball, be it from far or getting closer. It boosted us up. We just wanted to do it for our team. That was the only conversation we had in the middle.”
In her first match for India after five years, the spin all-rounder Rana bowled 39.2 overs in the first innings before putting up the rescue-act batting at No 8.
“There was no nervousness. We just wanted to play our basics. There was sledging in the middle but we both decided to just focus on our batting and put in extra focus. I don’t think much and just keep myself busy. I didn’t want the situation to take over me, so that I could play my natural game.”
Asked about missing a century on her Test debut, Rana said: “I didn’t think about the century. Team wanted me to stay so I was just playing ball-by-ball and contribute to the team.”
Promoted to No 3 after being unbeaten in the first innings, Sharma was steely in her partnership with Verma as she put in the foundation before England triggered a collapse.
The duo, who stitched together 70 runs, was unbeaten overnight with India at 83/1.
“Actually, it was about starting all over again and play session by session. I always enjoy batting with Shafali, we know there will be sixes, boundaries anytime when she is playing.”
“I got a lot of confidence from my knock in the first innings, I just wanted to play close to my body in the second innings. I just played session-by-session,” Sharma said.