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Cricket news - Ekta Bisht spins India to series lead

Bisht four-fer restricted England to 136.

Defending World Champions England made heavy weather of a fairly straightforward chase of 202 and slipped to a 66-run defeat to India in the opening ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. In the first fixture of this ICC Women's Championship rubber, Ekta Bisht proved to be a major hurdle for the visitors who gave the left-arm spinner figures of 4 for 25 as they lost their final seven wickets for 25 runs to be bowled out for 136.

Bisht's bowling, however, was only the final act of an absorbing second half of this game, which swung one way, then another before the pressure of a run chase proved too much for England's lower-order to handle. They had recovered admirably, moving even to the position of favourites by the 30th over thanks to a 73-run stand between Natalie Sciver and captain Heather Knight. This was before tragedy struck in the most unlikeliest of ways.

Sciver, who was particularly impressive in her play against the Indian spinners during last year's T20 WC semifinal in Antigua, was at large again, using the sweep shot to great effect. With a steady Knight for company, she'd moved to 44 off 66 when she backed up far too out of the crease at the non-striker's end. Unfortunately for her, Knight's attempted tuck off the hips only rolled back in the direction of the bowler, Bisht, who found herself with far too much time to throw the stumps down at the bowling end.

Danielle Wyatt fell to Deepti Sharma in the next over and Bisht then ensured that the rest of England's lower middle-order made a beeline back to the dressing room. In a little under an hour, the visitors were bowled out with their captain watching powerlessly from one end, unbeaten on 39.

That a single dismissal could create such a domino effect was down to how well India began their defence of an at-best average total of 202. Seamer Shikha Pandey found swing and movement of the surface and dismissed Amy Jones and the returning Sarah Taylor with almost identical deliveries that moved back sharply to catch the two batters plumb in front of the stumps. Deepti Sharma dismissed Tammy Beaumont, exposing the latter's apparent weakness against the spinning ball. England made an admirable recovery from 38 for 3 but crumbled once more at the next wave of Indian resistance.

Earlier in the day, India put into bat, carried forward their recent T20I travails to the 50-over format, wasting a strong start from Jemimah Rodrigues (48 off 58) and Smriti Mandhana (24 off 42) with another inexplicable collapse. While Mandhana wasn't at her fluent best in the 69-run stand, Rodrigues struck as many as eight boundaries to provide the brisk start that the hosts sought. But India then lost five wickets for the addition of 26 runs, slipping to 95 for 5 before Mithali Raj (44 off 74), batting at No. 4, led the team's recovery with a 54-run stand with Taniya Bhatia.

The other veteran in the side, Jhulan Goswami, then struck three fours and a six in her 37-ball knock of 30 to push India past the 200-mark, a psychological barrier that poured into their target defence.

Brief scores: India 202 in 49.4 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 48, Mithali Raj 44; Sophie Ecclestone 2-27, Natalie Sciver 2-29) beat England 136 in 41 overs (Natalie Sciver 44, Heather Knight 39*; Ekta Bisht 4-25) by 66 runs.

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