Indian bowlers call the tune

ABHIJIT SEN GUPTA

THE Indian women put up a sterling display in the second and third Hero Honda one-day internationals against England to clinch the series in style. By winning the two matches in Hyderabad, India chalked up three wins in a row to win the five-match series.

The triumphant Indian team which clinched the series 3-0 in Hyderabad.-H. SATISH

India won the first match in Hyderabad (which was the second of the series) by a comfortable margin of nine wickets and then hammered out a decisive 113-run win in the next match.

The extent to which India dominated its rival may have surprised many. But, to be fair to the visiting side it is going through a transitional phase. England is trying out new players and is in the process of building a new team. Except for a handful of experienced players, most of the squad comprised of newcomers who were playing for the first time outside their home country. Not being familiar with the conditions prevailing in India, the visiting team's batswomen were all at sea when it came to dealing with spin.

Jhulan Goswami is ecstatic after having Laura Newton caught behind.-H. SATISH

This was an aspect which England captain Clare Connor had mentioned even before the matches began. In her pre-match assessment she had spoken about the England batswomen's approach to spin bowling. She felt that there was a need to adopt a different approach and select shots with more circumspection. At that stage she felt optimistic that her players would be able to adjust themselves, but as matters turned out, she probably had reason to feel disappointed.

The first match in Hyderabad was badly affected by overnight rain. The soggy ground delayed the start of the match and it had to be reduced to a 23 overs contest when it eventually got underway in the afternoon. India won the toss and decided to field. Throughout the match the slow outfield proved to be a handicap for the batting side since the ball frequently stopped before reaching the boundary. The slippery conditions in some portions of the ground also hampered the fielders on a few occasions.

In this match two players were mainly responsible for India's thumping win. One was new ball bowler Jhulan Goswami who ripped apart the England top-order, the other being skipper Anjum Chopra who played a captain's knock to guide her team home.

Mamta Maben, who struck a superb half century in the second one-dayer in Hyderabad.-N. BALAJI

Most of the Indian bowlers kept a good line and length and also bowled to their field. Finding runs difficult to get and further handicapped by the slow outfield, the England players occasionally tried lofted shots, but this method sometimes led to their downfall. To top it all they often found their timing awry, for the ball tended to come slowly off the pitch.

The tall Jhulan bowled opener Laura Spragg in the very first over. Using the seam well and cleverly varying her pace, Jhulan was able to exploit the conditions superbly. She went on to dismiss Kate Lowe and Laura Newton (both caught behind) and thereby dealt a big blow to England's aspirations.

That the victory was eventually achieved without any problem was largely due to Anjum's solid batting. Her innings was just the right blend of caution and aggression. She saw off the new ball and then attacked the slower bowlers with gusto to enable India to cruise home.

Jhulan Goswami got the Hero Honda Woman of the Match award, while Anjum Chopra got the Outstanding Player Trophy from Country Club.

The second match was even more one-sided. England won the toss and fielded. For the first half of the Indian innings the England bowlers succeeded in keeping the home team's run rate in check. But the turning point came through two important partnerships in the later stages.

For the fourth wicket Mithali Raj (39) and Mamta Maben (55 not out) put on 62 in 16.2 overs and then Arundhati Kirkire came up with just the right thing - a blazing 35 off 36 deliveries. Arundhati and Mamta put on 75 in the last 10 overs which boosted the home team's total to a formidable 191.

When England began the chase, it was immediately clear that the main weakness was against spin. Woman of the Match award winner Mithali Raj exploited this weakness to the fullest extent to snap up three wickets for only four runs off the 4.4 overs that she bowled. Everything went right for India and the home team just breezed through.

True to the words of the Indian captain Anjum Chopra and the coach Tarak Sinha, the Indian team did not take things lightly. To their credit, the home side kept the pressure on at all times during the match. The players showed a great deal of motivation and determination. Their spirited approach and excellent teamwork in everything that they did, was a treat to behold.

Anjum Chopra, the Indian skipper, with the Outstanding Player Trophy, awarded by Country Club.-H. SATISH

A lot had been said about the sluggishness of the Indian fielding. But in the two matches played in Hyderabad, the home team showed that they were up to the mark in this department of the game also. Catches were taken without any fumbling and the ground fielding was sharp. The home team's tight fielding made run-getting difficult for the visitors. And to top it all, the throwing was excellent - frequently uprooting the stumps from a distance. It all helped to keep up the pressure on the England side whenever it batted.

First ODI in Hyderabad (second of the series):

The scores:

England: Laura Spragg b Jhulan Goswami 0. Kate Lowe c Anju Jain b Jhulan Goswami 1. Laura Newton c Anju Jain b Jhulan Goswami 10. Clare Connor c Arundati Kirkire b Mamta Maben 7. Caroline Atkins st. Anju Jain b Nousheen al-Khadeer 11. Jane Cassar (run out) 10. Arran Thompson lbw b Neetu David 7. Dawn Holden (not out) 13. Clare Taylor (not out) 3. Extras (b-1, lb-3, w-5): 9. Total (for seven wkts in 23 overs): 71.

Fall of wickets : 1-0, 2-11, 3-14, 4-25, 5-47, 6-47, 7-62.

India bowling: Jhulan Goswami 5-1-8-3. Nousheen al-Khadeer 5-0-13-1. Neetu David 5-0-12-1. Mamta Maben 3-0-12-1. Deepa Kulkarni 5-0-22-0.

India: Anju Jain (run out) 10. Anjum Chopra (not out) 36. Mithali Raj (not out) 11. Extras (w-15): 15. Total (for one wkt in 20.2 overs) 72.

Fall of wicket: 39.

England bowling: Lucy Pearson 5-1-7-0. Clare Taylor 3-0-10-0. Dawn Holden 3-0-13-0. Clare Connor 2-0-10-0. Laura Newton 4.2-1-14-0. Helen Wardlaw 3-0-18-0.

Second ODI in Hyderabad (third of the series):

The scores:

India: Anju Jain c Arran Thompson b Laura Newton 8. Jaya Sharma c and b Lucy Pearson 9. Anjum Chopra (run out) 10. Mithali Raj c Caroline Atkins b Clare Connor 39. Mamta Maben (not out) 55. Arundhati Kirkire b Clare Taylor 35. Extras (2-b, 6-lb, 2-nb, 25-w): 35. Total (for five wkts in 50 overs): 191.

Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-31, 3-54, 4-116, 5-191.

England bowling: Lucy Pearson 10-2-26-1. Clare Taylor 8-0-30-1. Dawn Holden 10-3-20-0. Laura Newton 8-0-42-1. Helen Wardlaw 4-1-17-0. Clare Connor 8-0-38-1. Laura Spragg 2-0-10-0.

England: Caroline Atkins (run out) 20. Laura Spragg b Sunita Singh 6. Laura Newton c and b Deepa Kulkarni 0. Arran Thompson b Nousheen al-Khadeer 21. Kate Lowe c Anjum Chopra b Nousheen al-Khadeer 0. Clare Connor b Mithali Raj 15. Jane Cassar (run out) 3. Dawn Holden st. Anju Jain b Mithali Raj 1. Helen Wardlaw b Mithali Raj 0. Clare Taylor c Mamta Maben b Sunita Singh 0. Lucy Pearson (not out) 4. Extras (4-lb, 4-w): 8. Total (in 42.4 overs): 78.

Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-28, 3-53, 4-53, 5-53, 6-66, 7-69, 8-69, 9-70.

India bowling: Jhulan Goswami 6-0-21-0. Sunita Singh 10-3-9-2. Deepa Kulkarni 5-2-3-1. Nousheen al-Khadeer 10-2-24-2. Neetu David 7-2-13-0. Mithali Raj 4.4-1-4-3.