South African women arrived on their India tour to play a one-off test match, three ODIs and one T20 game. They began their campaign with the 4-day test match at Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadeyar Ground in the city of Mysore on November 16, 2014. In women’s cricket, this was the 137th test match, which India finally won as they beat South Africa by an innings and 34 runs. It was a match completely dominated by Indian women, who went on record to register their third consecutive test victory. Several women cricketers from either side made their debut in the one-off test match. For India, there were three new faces; Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav and wicketkeeper Sushma Verma; while eight women played the test match for the first time in their career for South Africa, including the captain Mignon du Preez. The other South African debutants were; Yolani Fourie, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Nadine Moodley, Chloe Tryon, Nonkhululeko Thabethe and Dane van Niekerk.
Indian skipper Mithali Raj won the toss and elected to bat first. The start of the India innings was not good as they lost opener Smriti Mandhana in the 4th over with just 8 runs on the board. But what followed after the fall of Smriti’s wicket merited world-wide attention. Opener Thirush Kamini played a marathon 430-ball innings, batting for 1½ days and scored 192 runs with 24 fours and a six. More importantly, Kamini added 275 runs for the second wicket with another centurion Poonam Raut. It was only the second highest stand for any wicket in the history of women’s test cricket. Australia’s Lindsay Reeler and Denise Annetts hold the all-time world record for any wicket, when they had put on 309 for the third wicket against England in 1987. In addition, it was also the first time that any pair of Indian women had crossed the 200-run partnership mark, after Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami were involved in a 157-run stand against England 12 years ago. Kamini’s partner Poonam Raut also scored 130 runs off 355 balls with 18 hits to the fence. India batted slowly on day one and they could only reach 211/1 with both Kamini and Poonam unbeaten on 100 runs each.
On the second day, India lost Poonam but skipper Mithali Raj joined Kamini and the two stepped up the scoring tempo. Mithali scored a quick-fire 37 off 51 balls and after her departure, Harmanpreet Kaur also made a small contribution of 17 runs. Mithali probably waited for the double century from Kamini but once the opener fell in the 148th over for 192, she applied closure with India innings at 400/6 in 148.4 overs. For South Africa, off-spinner, Sunette Loubser was the most successful bowler to claim 3/90 in 32.4 overs.
When South Africa came on to bat, they lost two wickets at the same score of 37. But the other opener Moodley and her skipper attempted a partial recovery to take the score to 83 before Moodley fell to Poonam Yadav in the 46th over. After the visitors lost another wicket at 107, skipper Mignon du Preez assumed control of the innings. She began with a 102-run fifth wicket partnership with wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty and scored a hundred for herself. Preez’s 102 off 253 balls was the backbone of South Africa’s first innings score of 234 all out. A deadly spell from Harmanpreet Kaur hastened the end as she accounted for 5 wickets in the innings conceding just 44 runs. Harmanpreet’s seam bowling at one end was nicely complemented at the other end by Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s offspinners as the Bijapur girl accounted for four wickets for 54. Under the onslaught by the two Indian bowlers, South African women buckled from 209 for 4 to be 234 all out, with 4 wickets falling on the same score of 234.
Asked to follow-on, South Africa did even worse in their second knock. They began losing wickets straightaway and were bowled out for 132. The only bright spark in an otherwise dismal show was the batting of wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty, who ended up scoring 35 after facing 131 balls. First innings’ tormentor, Harmanpreet struck in the second innings as well to claim four wickets and returned with the match figures of 9/85. In the end, it turned out to be an easy innings victory for the Indian women, who performed far better than the visitors in every department of the game.
The South African tourists will now play three ODIs on November 24, 26 and 28 and a T20 game on November 30. All the matches will be played at Bangalore.
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