England 126 for 3 (Dunkley 49, Capsey 38*) beat India 122 for 8 (Ghosh 33, Ecclestone 3-25, Glenn 2-11) by seven wickets
However, Capsey – playing her 10th international game having made her debut less than two months ago – marshalled the run-chase with Bryony Smith, who returned to the England ranks this summer for the first time in more than three years.
England’s (almost) perfect start
Early indications didn’t auger well for England in the field after Amy Jones won the toss and opted to bowl first. Jones missed a stumping off Shafali Verma, charging at Smith on the second ball of the match and beaten by the extra bounce, which also deceived the wicketkeeper, who failed to gather cleanly. Smith then got her fingertips to what could have been a return catch low to her left next ball.
But, after Issy Wong struck with a well-executed knuckle ball that was going down leg side until Verma sidestepped, swung and missed to see the ball ricochet off her pads onto the stumps, two brilliant catches helped reduce India to 19 for 3 inside the powerplay.
Smith claimed the prize wicket of Smriti Mandhana, the star of India’s eight-wicket victory in Derby on Tuesday, who skied the ball down the ground only to find Ecclestone charging round from long-on to cover considerable ground and take a spectacular diving catch, which – although it touched the ground as she completed her dive-roll – was under control by that point and therefore deemed a legal dismissal. Danni Wyatt mirrored her team-mate’s athleticism with a stunning effort running in from deep midwicket and launching herself forward to dismiss Sabbhineni Meghana, making her first appearance of the tour in place of Kiran Navgire.
When Glenn, the legspinner whose career-best 4 for 23 in Durham was crucial in giving England the early series lead, skidded one through to have Dayalan Hemalatha stumped, India were 21 for 4. Glenn backed that up with a gem that slid through the gate and into the top of Harmanpreet Kaur’s middle stump to make it 35 for 5.
Stuck in a spin
India had gone 60 balls without a boundary off the bat before Ghosh powered Smith through midwicket in the 14th over. Ecclestone had accounted for Sneh Rana two balls before that when England overturned her not-out lbw decision. There was no doubt when Ecclestone trapped Rana in the penultimate over, beating her attempted reverse sweep with one that was tracking onto leg stump.
In between, Deepti made a blunder when she attempted to sweep Ecclestone and missed. As Jones juggled the ball behind the stumps, Deepti slid her foot out of her crease thinking the keeper had put the ball down when she had actually gathered and plucked off the bails.
After Dunkley and Wyatt had made just 11 runs between them as the hosts suffered a similar collapse in Derby, they were back in command, reeling off 70 runs before Wyatt picked out Radha Yadav attempting to deposit Rana over wide long-on.
Dunkley, who scored an unbeaten 61 off 44 balls in England’s nine-wicket win in Durham, moved fluently into the 40s, finding the boundary six times before she was stranded on 49 as Radha sent down a maiden in the 11th over. And that was where Dunkley stayed when, seemingly frustrated, she swung wildly at a Vastrakar delivery that was right on target and clattered into the stumps.
That left England needing 46 off 52 balls and, when Jones lost her off stump to Radha, they were 79 for 3 and India had a flicker of hope. Capsey’s nonchalant reverse-swept four off Rana eased the tension, the first of three boundaries in seven balls as Smith flicked Renuka Singh thorugh fine leg and Capsey sent one through the hands of Hemalatha in the deep.
With the equation firmly back in England’s favour, Capsey skipped down to meet a Rana full toss and smear it over extra cover for four more. Capsey and Smith put on an unbroken stand of 47 runs off 33 balls in all. Capsey’s back-to-back fours off Sharma sealed victory by seven wickets with 10 balls to spare and left her 38 not out from 24 balls, calmly supported by Smith with 13 from 14.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo