Harmanpreet Kaur scored a stunning century as England women’s cricket slipped to a crushing One-Day International Series defeat to India at Canterbury.
After losing by seven wickets in the opener, the hosts had to level the score on Wednesday to make their long-awaited return to Lord’s this weekend – cricket’s first home outing for England women since the final 2017 World Cup triumphant – a series decider.
But Saturday’s third Royal London ODI – which will be head coach Lisa Keightley’s last game in charge – will be just dead rubber after India’s second triumph in four days.
After Smriti Mandhana’s elegant 91 from 99 balls set up India’s successful pursuit of 228 at Hove last Sunday, this time it was skipper Kaur’s turn to play for the visiting team.
Kaur lifted his fifth ODI ton in 100 balls before finishing with spectacular brilliance – hitting 43 from his last 11 strikes – as England conceded their second-highest ODI tally.
The hosts needed to improve India’s 333 for five to keep the series alive. But after slipping to 12 for two and then 47 for three, England’s already difficult task became unlikely overnight.
Danni Wyatt gave some hope with 65 before the hosts were fired for 245 as India celebrated their first streak on English soil in 23 years.
England won the coin toss, opted to bowl and made an encouraging start at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence when Kate Cross pulled Shafali Verma off with just the ninth ball in the match.
Charlie Dean caught and beat Yastika Bhatia for 26 in the 11th before Sophie Ecclestone took the wicket from Mandhana to leave the visitors on 99 for three.
But Kaur’s remarkable quick pitch, backed up by a fine 58 from Harleen Deol, put India in a dominant position.
Kaur’s brilliance also saw 17-year-old debutante Freya Kemp finish with numbers of one for 82 – England’s most expensive 10 plus spell in ODI cricket.
England’s response got off to a bad start when flyhalf Tammy Beaumont was exhausted with Sophia Dunkley next down as Renuka Thakur struck in third.
Lamb became Thakur’s second victim before Wyatt rallied alongside Alice Capsey to bring England to triple figures.
Capsey lost his wicket after scoring 39 before England’s slim chance of overtaking India’s tally was ended when Wyatt was brought down by Thakur in the 29th to leave England on 167 for five.
The impressive Thakur finished with figures of four for 57 from 10 overs.
Amy Jones, Sophie Ecclestone and Kemp all fell in quick succession, and despite Dean’s resilience 37 from 44, England were knocked out in 45th place, losing by 88 runs.