The India women's cricket team registered a famous six-wicket win over England on the final day of the one-off Test match on Saturday at Sir Paul Getty's Ground in Wormsley.
The Indian eves, led from the front by skipper Mithali Raj, who made 50 not out, were playing a Test match after eight years, but beat the much-fancied England side. The fact that the English side has acquired the status of professionals makes India's victory more momentous than it already is.
India, who needed 181 to win in the second innings, began the day on 119 for four with skipper Mithali Raj and Shikha Pandey at the crease. Given that the wicket was as green as can be and both teams had registered low scores throughout the match, a chase of 181 was always going to be tricky.
Raj and Pandey needed to hold firm and ensure that the England bowlers would not even so much as sniff a victory. The Indian batswomen did just that as England weren't even afforded a look in as Raj and Pandey put together a partnership of 68 runs. The highlight of India's innings was Raj's knock of 50 not out. Her half-century contained four hits to the fence.
Raj, as the day began, appeared a tad nervous as England wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor failed to latch onto an edge. At this point Kate Cross and Anya Shrubsole were bowling accurately. It was imperative that Raj and Pandey see this period out. England weren't helped by a poor fielding display. Charlotte Edwards, the England skipper, put down Raj at mid-off when she was on 40. This was odd to see as the England eves are usually good on the field.
England continued to bowl in an accurate manner, but as they failed to take wickets the game began to get away. Raj kept picking up runs consistently. Third man was her favoured region as she constantly guided the ball there. At this point the number of runs needed was reducing greatly. The Indian skipper, however, refused to get carried away and was still doing it in singles. It was only when nine runs were needed to pick up that massive win, that Mithali attacked as she cover drove a ball for four. She then brought up a richly deserved half-century.
In the end Pandey struck a boundary and brought up the winning runs. Ironically, the last time India beat England eight years ago at Taunton, Raj was at the crease. It somehow seemed perfect for her to be in the middle when they won this time.
"As a cricketer, you want to play more Test matches as it will challenge all your endurance levels and the mental aspect of your game. I'm very happy that I got to play another Test before I hang up my boots," the ICC website quoted her as saying.
"We didn't make good decisions when we were batting. I think they bowled well. Sometimes credit has to go to the opposition. Some of the decisions didn't go our way as well so that combined meant that we didn't quite get ourselves into the game," England skipper Charlotte Edwards said.
For England the only consolation was Jenny Gunn being adjudged the player of the match for her all-round performance.