Shafali Verma has again showcased why she could be the new superstar of women’s cricket with her second fifty of the match for India as they fought to avoid defeat against England in the one-off Test in Bristol.
After England enforced the follow on Friday’s third day of action, India finished the day on 1-83 with Shafali still looking comfortable despite the wind, rain and overcast conditions all helping the bowlers.
The teenager struck the ball beautifully during her unbeaten 55, which included 11 fours from 68 balls.
When she brought up her fifty off 63 balls, she became the youngest woman from any country ever to score twin fifties on Test debut, following her dazzling 96 in the first innings.
Across men’s and women’s Tests, only Sachin Tendulkar was younger than Shafali, who is 17 years 139 days old, when he achieved the milestone.
Despite her heroics, though, India were still in trouble, trailing England by 82 runs after they’d been earlier bowled out for 231.
The day’s play, though, had to be abandoned just before 5.30pm with no play possible after the tea break.
Sophie Ecclestone claimed the first three wickets to fall for England on Friday morning as India, who had been 167 without loss at one stage on day two, were dismissed before lunch at the County Ground.
The first two were both lbw, including a player review, as India slumped to 7-187 without having added to their overnight total.
Heather Knight had taken 2-1 from six overs the night before, but it was the world’s number one T20 spinner who did the damage inside the opening 40 minutes to send back Harmanpreet Kaur, Taniya Bhatia and Sneh Rana and finish with 4-88.
England also struck immediately with the new ball, Katherine Brunt claiming the wicket of Pooja Vastrakar for 12 with a good delivery that just clipped the bails.
Anya Shrubsole then took the final wicket of the innings, bowling Jhulan Goswami, before Knight enforced the follow on with India 165 runs behind.
Shafali again looked to dominate at the start of the second innings and stroked the experienced Brunt and Shrubsole around the ground to reach 20 before lunch.
In the final over before the break, Smriti Mandhana edged Brunt to Nat Sciver at second slip to see India go into the break on 1-29, 136 behind.