England Women v India Women: Tourists in charge ahead of what could be a thrilling final day
Last Updated: 15/08/14 8:17pm
Mithali Raj: has the responsibility of guiding her team home on the final day
India Women held their nerve in a compelling final session to close on 119-4, needing just 62 runs on the final day at Wormsley to clinch victory over England Women in the one-off Test.
Given a solid start in the run chase by the opening pair Thirush Kamini and Smriti Mandhana who showed no signs of nerves in their first Test, they impressed with a succession of boundaries steering the side to 76 before Kate Cross struck twice in four overs to leave them at 82-2.
Heather Knight picked up her first Test wicket as India slipped to 112-3 when Jenny Gunn pouched a sharp low catch at first slip to dismiss Poonam Raut.
Cross claimed her third as Harmanpreet Kaur collected a pair after being caught at the wicket leaving India's captain Mithali Raj with the responsibility of guiding her team home on the final day.
Cross said she thought India were slight favourites to win adding the game was nicely poised: "The pitch is a bit flatter and lower and we need to bowl gun-barrel straight because any action is likely to take place in the first session.
"Their captain Mithali Raj is the key wicket and if we can get her early it will be massive for us.
"She's game-changer and we're pleased at the way she retreated in to her shell because we know what a dangerous shot-maker she is. It's going to be an exciting final day."
Gunn laid the foundations for England's competitive total posting her maiden Test 50 to finish 62 not out. Her innings was a model of application and may yet prove decisive in the final outcome.
The 28-year-old gave one sharp chance on 56 when she was dropped off Jhulan Goswami at the wicket but after a painstakingly slow start when she was two overnight from forty two balls, she positively raced to her half century off 150 balls.
A seventh-wicket partnership with Sarah Taylor steered England from 84-6 to 123 when Taylor, who had reigned in her flamboyant stroke play, was undone by Shubhlakshmi Sharma.
Sharma is unlikely to bat unless absolutely necessary after dislocating her shoulder attempting to cut off a ball on the boundary.
Sensing the need to push on, Gunn unleashed a series of attacking strokes sharing a crucial 58-run eighth-wicket stand with Anya Shrubsole. Once Shrubsole departed leg before to Goswami with the first ball after lunch, Gunn brought up her 50 before running out of partners.