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India Women Turn the Impossible Into Possible: Case For 5-Day Tests In Women’s Cricket?

“Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” said Francis of Assisi about 800 years ago.

India women did just that, holding England to an improbable draw.

Women’s Tests A Rarity

Due to an increased fan following in women’s cricket since the 2017 ODI World Cup, recent emphasis has been on limited overs cricket, expansion of the game via T20 World Cup, and a potential game changer in Women’s Hundred.

Since resources have been spent in marketing the limited overs game, women’s Test cricket has disappeared in the background.

England play only one Test match every couple of years in the Ashes against Australia. Indian women had it even worse—they were playing their first test after 7 years and only their third in 15 years.

We did not know how it will pan out. Will India struggle with the lack of match practice? Will they remain unbeaten in Tests in England? How would teams cope with a used pitch?


Electing to bat first, England posted a solid 396/9 declared courtesy their senior players: Beaumont’s 66, captain Heather Knight’s 95, Nat Sciver’s 42, and debutant’s Sophie Dunkley’s 74.

Openers Smriti Mandhana & Shafali Verma would form a record 167-partnership, before India collapsed for 231. England enforced the follow-on with India 165 runs still behind & 135 overs still left in the game.

Rana-Bhatia’s Performance of the Ages

In the second innings, they started by doing the necessary. The top order repeated its fight with contributions from Verma, Raut, and Sharma before they collapsed from 171-2 to 199-7 in 73.3 overs. What’s more, India’s last recognized batter, Harmanpreet Kaur departed. With 50 overs still to go, little did anyone expect that India would survive.

Then they did what was possible. Stitch out partnerships. Play ball-by-ball. Stall the time. An hour later, Shikha Pandey departed after a fighting 18 (50).

What followed was a performance of a lifetime, a magnificent rearguard effort between Taniya Bhatia & Sneh Rana—104* (185) partnership. Suddenly, India were doing the impossible.

Rana scored 80* (154) & Bhatia provided ample support with 44* (88) to deny England a routine victory.

Patience, grit, determination on show. Bravo India women!

Debutants Dare to Dream

The experienced duo, Mithali Raj & Harmanpreet Kaur, scored a paltry 18 runs in 4 innings. To achieve the impossible, India’s youngsters were thrown in the deep end, similar to the Border-Gavaskar series in men’s cricket.

Not only did the newer generation star, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, and Taniya Bhatia were actually making their Test debuts for the India women team. Sophia Dunkley, whose 74* revived England from 251-6 to 396/9 declared, was debuting for England.

  • Shafali became the youngest women (17 years & 139 days) cricketer and second overall after Sachin Tendulkar to score fifties in both innings—96 & 63.
  • Promoted from #7 in the 1st innings to #3 in the 2nd, Sharma brought India back in the game with mature knocks of 29* & 54 to go along with 3/65.
  • Rana’s 4/131 & 80* Bhatia’s 44* saves India.
  • Vastrakar contributed with 1/53.

Ecclestone Bowls Herself To the Ground

The English bowlers were in the field for two and a half days!

Sophie Ecclestone took the bulk of the responsibilities, bowling 26 overs (out of 81.5) in the first innings and 38 (out of 121 overs) in the second. She ended up figures of 4-88 & 4-118.

Kudos to her for giving it her best shot. Can take some rest now. Already a T20 star, the 22-year old has the potential to be an all-time England great.

Time For 5-Day Tests In Women’s Cricket?

At the end of the 4th day, the captains shook hands with 12 overs to go. India were 179 runs ahead at 344/8.

Imagine a potential day 5—England’s target around 200 runs with 80 overs to go. All 4 results possible. Mouth-watering scenario, isn’t it? Well it isn’t entirely possible when you only have a 4-day Test.

Captain Heather Knight commented that the lack of 5th day “robbed of that finish,” and they would definitely be open for 5-day Tests. Mithali Raj had a more practical suggestion, “It’s a good idea to have a five-day Test but we actually have to start Test matches regularly.”

Why not combine both? Teams that traditionally play consistent Test cricket (Australia & England) should be allowed to experiment with 5-day Tests and pink-ball Tests. On the other hand, teams like India should not be searching for Test match opportunities every seven or eight years. Why not have one mandatory 4-day Test per bilateral series for teams like India, South Africa, and New Zealand? This way, more seasoned cricketers will get Test match experience and cricket boards will get the chance to focus on the marketing aspect of Women’s Test cricket.

Who knows, maybe a Women’s World Test Championship is just what is needed to provide context.

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COPYRIGHT @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X, 06/23/2021; Email at

Image Courtesy: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Sources: Quotemaster

India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Review: Lizelle Lee, Punam Raut, & Lack of WIPL The Talking Points

India Vs South Africa Women Series Review.

After a year of no cricket, women’s cricket finally restarted in India. Although the series ended with 4-1 and 2-1 to South Africa, there were positives for both teams.

Lizelle Lee’s blew India away with a whirlwind series, Shabnim Ismail continued to show why she is one of the leading fast bowlers in the world, and Anneke Bosch made full use of her opportunities.

While it seems that Women’s IPL is not going to become a reality anytime soon, India had positives as well.

India added another feather to Mithali Raj’s & Jhulan Goswami’s record breaking careers, witnessed Punam Raut’s second coming & return of Mansi Joshi, and saw the rise of youngsters in Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Monica Patel, & Radha. The experienced trio of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Deol, & Deepti Sharma chipped in as well, but lower order power hitting & Jemimah Rodrigues’ ODI form remains a concern.

For Video Highlights/Scorecards, commentary on Women’s IPL, & emerging players, keep on reading ahead.

Also Read: Nobody Cares About Women’s Cricket, India Vs South Africa Women Preview

Stats, Scorecards & Video Highlights – India Vs South Africa

ODI Series: South Africa Women Win 4-1

  1. South Africa Women won by 8 wickets*Shabnim Ismail
  2. India Women won by 9 wickets*Jhulan Gosami
  3. South Africa Women won by 6 runs (D/L method)*Lizelle Lee
  4. South Africa Women won by 7 wickets*Mignon du Preez
  5. South Africa Women won by 5 wickets*Anneke Bosch

* Player of Match

ODI Series Stats

Player of SeriesIndiaSouth Africa
Lizelle Lee
Most RunsPunam Raut – 263 runs
(best of 104*, 100s-1, 50s-2, 87.66 average, 71.66 SR)
Lizelle Lee – 288 runs
(best 132*, 100s-1, 50s-2, 144.00 average, 86.22 SR)
Most WicketsJhulan Goswami – 8 wickets
(best of 4/42, 17.12 average, 3.51 economy)
Shabnim Ismail – 7 wickets
(best of 3/13, 20.25 average, 3.56 economy)
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 ODI Series Stats

T20I Series: South Africa Women Win 2-1

  1. South Africa Women won by 8 wickets*Anneke Bosch
  2. South Africa Women won by 6 wickets*Laura Wolvaardt
  3. India Women won by 9 wickets*Rajeshwari Gayakwad

* Player of Match

T20I Series Stats

Player of SeriesIndia
Shafali Verma
South Africa
Most RunsShafali Verma – 130 runs
(best of 60, 156.62 SR)
Sune Luus – 91 runs
(best of 43, 95.78 SR)
Most WicketsRajeshwari Gayakwad – 4 wickets
(best of 3/9, 4.75 economy)
Shabnim Ismail – 4 wickets
(best of 3/14, 8.20 economy)
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 T20I Series Stats

The Highlights


  • Punam Raut was revelation in this series with scores of 10, 62*, 77, 104*, & 10. Debuting 12 years ago with 72 ODIs & an average in the 30s, she was already a known name in the line up. Before this series, Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, & Jhulan Goswami were sure starters for the Indian Women’s ODI team. Add Punam Raut to that list after this breakthrough series. Could be a long term #3 option.
  • Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami once again displayed their worth in this ODI team. Although she had no centuries to her name this series, Mithali Raj consistently steadied the ship with scores of 50, 36, 45, and 79*. In the process, she became the first Indian women and second overall to cross 10,000 runs across formats. Legend. The other stalwart, Jhulan Goswami, came to the party as well with a match winning 4/42 in the second ODI.
  • Shafali Verma gave India the much-needed blazing starts in the T20I hitting 8 sixes altogether, with the 60*(30) in the 3rd T20I the best of the lot. Now the #1 ranked T20I batter. Time for ODI debut?

South Africa

  • If there was one player that was the difference between the two sides, it was Lizelle Lee and the top order. Usually one match winning knock in a series is a great achievement, but Lizelle came up with 83*, 132*, 69, & 70 across formats. Brilliant. When Lee did not perform, either the others in the top order Laura Wolvaardt (80 & 53) and Lara Goodall (59) came to the fore or South Africa women lost.
  • The Proteas found a new winner in Anneke Bosch with two player of the match performances. With Mignon Du Preez & Sune Luus chipping in and van Niekerk on an injury break, South Africa might be a dark horse for the next World Cup.
  • Shabnim Ismail & the fast bowling unit were impressive yet again. Although Ismail was the only one with the wickets, Khaka & Kapp kept the runs in the check, limiting India to 177, 248, 266, and 188.

Also Read: Impact of India’s 2017 Final Loss on the Lack of Women’s IPL, What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?

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The Awards: Emerging Players & Surprise Package

India South Africa
Emerging PlayerShafali Verma, Harleen DeolAnneke Bosch
Surprise PackagePunam RautHow Did They Lose 2 Games?
Broken Cricket DreamNo Women’s IPL yet again & Jemimah Rodrigues’ ODI formVan Niekerk’s Out of Action – Missing out on a wonderful overseas series win
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Awards

Where Do They Go From Here?

At this point, except the upcoming Australia vs New Zealand Women series coming up, there are no upcoming international fixtures till ODI World Cup in March 2022. The only professional cricket seems to be The Hundred in the UK this summer. Promises to be a game changer for Women’s cricket.

Another setback has happened with reports of no IPL in 2021 (with suggestions that this was done due to the ‘lack of depth’ and result of the South Africa series).

If the result of this series indeed had a direct impact on the WIPL decision, then let us reflect back. Were India really that bad this series? Not really. They actually improved over the course of the series. 177, 160/1 (won), 248 (lost only by D/L), and 266. In the final T20I, chased 113 with 9 wickets and 9 overs in hand. If not for Lizelle Lee’s brilliance, the score line would have been much closer.

Also if the national cricket board does not give the team a chance for an entire year after the team reached the final of a World T20, then it is not the players’ fault. It is the administration’s lack of urgency, vision, & communication.

Thoughts on Women’s Indian Premier League

It was nice to see widespread awareness and support in Twitter countering the arguments made against Women’s IPL. Here was a list of the top women professional cricketers in India that went viral.

If not now, when? Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami are on the verge of retirements, and it would be a shame if they are not part of the first iteration of this imaginary tournament. Here are my thoughts on the positives that Indian cricket can gain from the WIPL:

  1. Foster fanbases & transfer experience to the next generation of Indian players
  2. Intermingling of domestic Indian players with international stars and coaches, which has clearly been a feature of the
  3. Financial Growth, which can be reinvested to grow the women’s game in India and improve the standard of women’s domestic cricket in the long run.
  4. Cultural and financial awareness through the WIPL in the form of TV and social media can help make women’s sports a potential career in India
  5. Bring talented youngsters in the mix
  6. Narrowing down the gap between Australia-England-New Zealand and the rest of the countries in women’s cricket. This will also give an opportunity to Associate nations like the rising Thailand team.

Sure maybe 8 teams with 30 players each may be two far, but just 4 games in the Women’s T20 Challenge is a disgrace. Start with 4-6 teams and grow it little by little each year.

This is the time. Better late than never.

Copyright (2021: 3/27/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X –

Image Courtesy: Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons