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Indian eves in box seat

November 21, 2005 22:45 IST

Half centuries from Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra helped Indian eves post a commanding 244 for five against the visiting English women in the one-off cricket Test in New Delhi on Monday.

Mithali played a captain's knock, slamming an entertaining 78 studded with 14 fours to help the hosts grab the initiative after electing to bat at the Jamia Millia University ground.

Schedule: England Women in India

The skipper featured in two key partnerships, adding 83 runs for the second wicket and 59 for the third with Karuna Jain and Anjum respectively.

Opening batswoman Karuna made a patient 40 while former captain Anjum held the middle order together after Mithali's dismissal with a 130-ball 65 aided by 11 boundaries.

"The wicket is slow and turning. Definitely it is going to help the spinners later on, that was the reason to bat first," said Mithali.

"We knew there would be help for the seamers in the first hour, and if we see that through, batting would be easy."

The Hyderabadi said 250 would be a good first innings total.

"It is a four-day match and I don't think we can bat for two days. We want to score runs as fast as possible and bat again and set a target for them," she explained.

Mithali was disappointed to miss out on a century after surviving two chances during her 183-minute knock.

"Yes, I should have converted it but then I got out to a bad ball," she said after holing out to midwicket off spinner Rosali Birch.

The English, who won both their warm-up matches in Meerut comfortably, made a good start by dismissing Monica Sumra, caught behind to Jenny Gunn, in the 10th over.

But Karuna and Mithali denied the visitors' further breakthroughs as they batted on untroubled, on the slow track.

It was well into the second session when the second wicket fell, Karuna driving Laura Harper to Rosalie Birch at mid on.

Then came the crucial third wicket stand between Mithali and Anjum that effectively took the initiative away from the tourists.

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