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Updated December 16th, 2023 at 00:26 IST

We did not expect pitch to help spinners so much on Day 2: Deepti Sharma

Senior India bowler Deepti Sharma admitted that her side did not expect the pitch to assist spin bowling so drastically on Friday after it proved to be a batting haven on the opening day of the one-off women's Test against England here.

Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet Kaur commemorates Deepti Sharma for her 100th T20I match | Image:BCCI
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Senior India bowler Deepti Sharma admitted that her side did not expect the pitch to assist spin bowling so drastically on Friday after it proved to be a batting haven on the opening day of the one-off women's Test against England here.

Deepti produced a stunning spell of 5.3-4-7-5 after scoring 67 in India's first innings of the four-day Test.

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India piled up 410 for 7 in 94 overs in their first innings on Thursday but the second day's play on Friday saw 19 wickets tumbling for both the teams with spinners accounting for 15 of them.

“We did not think that the pitch would help the spinners so much on the second day. Luckily, it helped,” Deepti told the media after the conclusion of second day’s play.

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India were 186 for 6 in their second innings at the close of second day's play for an overall lead of 478. “The wicket was behaving differently since morning. There was not as much turn yesterday (on Day 1). There was not much bounce for the pacers even though it was in favour of bowling (department) and we handled it well,” she added.

The 26-year-old off-spinner said she was happy to observe the others bowl before her on Friday as she was the last to be introduced into the attack.

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“I was waiting to come into the attack. The wicket was helping the spinners and we thought about maximising it. We wanted to bowl in the right areas,” she said.

Batting first and scoring more than 400 on the first day proved to be decisive for India.

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“No, it was not like that. We were ready for both the scenarios — bowling or batting first,” she said.

“The only thing that we had in mind was that if we got to bat first, we would have to bat deep which would also give the batters adequate time (in the middle).” Deepti also clarified that with two more days’ time left in the game, India did not impose follow-on despite taking a massive 292-run first innings lead.

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“The plan was to play well and give them a big target. We have two more days (left in the game) so we played according to that,” she said.

For England, Nat Sciver-Brunt’s 59 off 70 balls with 10 fours was the only bright spot with the bat in their first innings, even though Charlie Dean (4/68) and Sophie Ecclestone (2/78) enjoyed some success in India's second essay.

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Sciver-Brunt said while it was expected that a Test match pitch would deteriorate at some point, what was difficult to handle was the uneven bounce.

“(It is) very different. The training wickets were really nice to face seam and spin and they gave us some good prep,” Sciver-Brunt said when asked how different the practice pitches were in comparison to the Test pitch.

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"This surface has taken a bit of spin but it is not being consistent and that has probably been the hardest bit about it,” she said.

For England Women’s batters, it was more difficult handling the uneven bounce in the pitch compared to the amount of turn the surface was providing.

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“We did not really know how the conditions would do, if the pitch would deteriorate,” she said.

“The problem was inconsistent spin. It is obviously a Test match wicket which was going to deteriorate at some point and it was day two in the afternoon when that happened,” she added.

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Sciver-Brunt said looking for runs worked for her in comparison to other batters.

“I felt quite comfortable against the pace a little more. I was making good decisions whether it was my footwork — whether to come forward or backward,” she said.

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“We had some people caught on the crease a little bit, and also not getting the same amount of bounce that we were getting when we bowled.

“Having the intent to score was the main thing, always looking at the opportunities where I can pick up runs or the boundaries.” The star all-rounder said England will have to make amends with the bat as they look to avoid a heavy defeat in their historic 100th Test.

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“We will be batting at some point. Breaking it down into smaller chunks, having that intent is really important,” she said. 

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Published December 16th, 2023 at 00:26 IST

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