Ahead of the England tour, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur had made it clear that her team wanted to make Jhulan Goswami’s farewell series memorable. On Wednesday, Kaur played a scintillating 111-ball knock of 143 in the second ODI to anchor an 88-run win over the hosts and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
India go to Lord’s for Goswami’s final hurrah hoping to complete their first bilateral ODI series win in 23 years with a clean sweep against a team which has bossed over them. “When you win the first game, the second game is always important and we always try to finish that as a winning side. We were looking at that only because we didn’t want to carry any extra pressure on ourselves going to Lord’s,” said Kaur.
“The Lord’s game is very special for us because it’s Jhulan’s retirement and we wanted to enjoy that game without any pressure and I’m really happy that we were able to win today and now we can just have fun in that game.”
Kaur had made her India debut 13 years ago when Goswami was the captain. Goswami, 39, was named in India’s squad for this tour after missing the 50-over series in Sri Lanka last July. Goswami played in the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand in March but missed India’s final group game against South Africa with a side strain. She will leave the game as the highest wicket-taker in women’s internationals: 353 dismissals across formats so far. She began her international career as a 19-year-old in January 2002, and has played 12 Tests, 68 T20Is and 203 ODIs. The veteran medium-pacer holds the record for the most wickets in ODIs with a tally of 253.
The series win becomes important because it comes after another icon Mithali Raj, who was captaining the ODI team since 2005, retired in June. If Kaur shone at The Spitfire Ground in Canterbury’s St Lawrence, it was her deputy Smirti Mandhana who did that in the first game. Her 99-ball knock of 91 was crafted with maturity and responsibility.
On Wednesday, India posted a mammoth total of 333/5, their second-highest in women’s ODIs after 358/2 against Ireland in 2017. It is also the second-highest score by any team against England in this format after Australia’s 356/5 in the World Cup final this year. The hosts were shot out for 245 with pacer Renuka Singh taking 4/57 in 10 overs.
England lost their first three wickets inside eight overs before Alice Capsey (39) and Danni Wyatt (65) forged a 55-run partnership. Charlotte Dean (37) was the last England batter to provide some resistance but it wasn’t enough as they were bowled out inside 45 overs.
India are only the second side to win an ODI series in England in the last 15 years after Australia, who won in 2015 and 2019. England have been victorious in 17 of the 20 bilateral ODI series at home in this period.
“It is a thumping series win and a special one too because it is post the Mithali Raj era. Young players like Yastika Bhatia, Harleen Deol, Renuka are coming good at crucial junctures. This will give them huge confidence,” said former India medium-pacer Amita Sharma (87 wickets in 117 ODIs).
This, however, is an under-cooked England side missing top guns such as Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver and Heather Knight. “The important thing is India capitalised on this. I will be happy if India’s bowling line-up is bolstered ahead of the T20 World Cup,” said Sharma.