A fairy-tale ending befitting her glorious career marked Jhulan Goswami's last waltz as India Women beat England by 16 runs in the third and final ODI to record their first clean sweep in this country. That the feat was achieved at the Mecca of Cricket -Lord's -made it doubly satisfying.
Sent into bat, India were all out for a paltry 169, and at that point it looked like the tourists may have fallen many runs short of making the match a memorable one for their legendary seamer, who is calling it quits after two decades of incredible service to the game. However, the Indians managed to eke out a win as Charlotte Dean (47) was adjudged run out in controversial fashion, for backing up. Dean, who nearly pulled off a stunning win for the hosts after they were reeling at 65 for seven and then 103 for eight, was out of her ground and Deepti Sharma simply held the ball to remove the bails, leaving the English flabbergasted.
Recently, ICC while modifying the playing conditions had moved this kind of dismissal from ‘unfair play' to 'run out’. The changes would come into effect from October 1. On expected lines, the day revolved around the 39-year-old warhorse Jhulan Goswami, who is leaving the scene as women's cricket's highest wicket-taker, having started her journey way back in 2002.
Harmanpreet Kaur, who let Jhulan call the toss in a touching gesture, was unable to hold back her tears, even as the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) planned to name a stand at the Eden gardens after the ‘Chakdaha Express’. She finished with excellent figures of 2/30 in her full quota of 10 overs, including three maiden overs.
The competitive Indian has seen the game evolve during her long journey that was marked with some unforgettable moments and few unpleasant days. While she was not expected to be at her peak in her final series, Jhulan did enough on her own to go out on a high, having bowled tidily in her last three international matches.
She was lucky to have got her first wicket of the day with a short one, her second scalp came when the pacer bowled Kate Cross with her ball number 10,001 in ODIs, again something which no other player has achieved.
Brief score: India 169 (Deepti Sharma 68 not out; Kate Cross 4-26) vs England 153 (Charlie Dean 47; Renuka Singh 4-29)