England spin heroics keep series alive

Danielle Hazell and Sophine Ecclestone claimed eight wickets between them for a miserly 46 runs off 20 overs, with the former returning a career-best four for 32.

England spinners made light work of India's batting.   -  PTI

The spin duo of Danielle Hazell and Sophine Ecclestone bamboozled Indian batters to set up a convincing eight-wicket win for England in the second ODI at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) stadium on Monday.

The emphatic victory not only kept England in contention for a maiden bilateral series win on Indian soil but also helped it level the three-match series 1-1.

The toss was perhaps the only thing that didn't go England's way. Opting to bat first, India opener Smriti Mandhana continued her run-glut, admittedly on a strip that was slower than Friday's with slightly more turn than the first ODI.

Mandhana, who was bowled off a free-hit in the third over, looked solid against the pace duo of Anya Shrubsole and Natalie Sciver, pulling the former for a six over deep-square in the fifth over.

With the left-handed duo of Mandhana and Devika Vaidya looking comfortable against pace, England captain Heather Knight - returning to the side after a hamstring injury - introduced off-spinner Hazell in the ninth over.

The move reaped instant dividend as Hazell got Vaidya to nick one to Amy Jones, who completed a sharp catch behind the stumps. Two balls later, the 29-year-old added Indian skipper Mithali Raj to her wickets tally; the ball spinning in the gap between the bat and the pad and crashing into Mithali's stumps.

Obviously the pitch was quite slow, quite conducive to spin but I think our bowlers were brilliant today. Dazzy Hazell set the tone for the spinners. Sometimes when you get a pitch like that, you are expected to turn the ball to take wickets and you can try a little too much and the pressure of trying to be the wicket-taker can get to you. But I think our spinners were brilliant today - Heather Knight, England Women captain

The onus was on Harmanpreet Kaur to rebuild the innings with Mandhana. However, to everyone's dismay, Harmanpreet lobbed a long-hop from Hazell straight to mid-on to leave India reeling at 47 for three. Left-arm spinner Ecclestone then ran through India's middle-order without a semblance resistance.

Hazell and Ecclestone claimed eight wickets between them for a miserly 46 runs off 20 overs, with the former returning a career-best four for 32.

Such timid was India's response to England's spinners that batting for 50 overs became an impossible task. In fact, the England openers had virtually sealed the game with a blazing start in the 35 minutes before the lunch break.

We were taken by surprise with the manner in which the pitch spun. All the batsmen went into a shell after seeing such turn. Had we played freely, we would have been able to put up a few more runs. 180 would have been a very good score to defend - Veda Krishnamurthy, India Women batter

Despite losing Danielle Wyatt - whose drives were a treat to watch - and Amy Jones in quick succession, Knight with opener Tammy Beaumont to see the team home amidst loud cheers from a group of schoolchildren, who enjoyed the action all through the day.

Brief scores: India Women 113 all out in 37.2 overs (Smriti Mandhana 42, Deepti Sharma 26 n.o.; Sophie Ecclestone four for 14, Danielle Hazell four for 32) lost to 117 for two in 29 overs (Danielle Wyatt 47, Tasmin Beaumont 39 n.o., Heather Knight 26 n.o.; Ekta Bisht two for 44).

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