Bristol, India batter Deepti Sharma, who played a crucial role in the Mithali Raj-led side stealing a draw in the one-off Test against England, said that the England players tried to “distract us” during the match but “I made sure I didn’t heed any of that”.
Deepti, who not just took three England wickets but scored an unbeaten 29 in the first innings and a patient half-century in the second, told ESPNcricinfo on Sunday: “The England players were quipping something or the other after every ball, every over. So I made sure I didn’t heed any of that.
“They were deliberately coming close to us, trying to distract us. So as (bowling) partners (with Sneh Rana, who took four wickets for 131 runs), we were communicating after every ball so that we stay focused on the game.”
On what gave her the confidence to score a gritty 54 in the second innings, the 23-year-old said: “When I had batted in the first innings, I picked up confidence. All I focused on at the time was playing close to the body. When I was sent at one-down (in the second innings), I walked in with a different kind of a confidence to approach the day, session by session and according to the messages I was receiving (from the dressing room).
“Test match is about patience. You have to play with that one quality — in batting as well as bowling.”
Making her maiden appearance for India after nearly five years, Rana, who became the first Indian cricketer, male or female, to take a four wickets and score a half century on Test debut, said she cut out all the noise during her 104-run ninth-wicket partnership with wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, which sealed the draw.
“We just told each other that England were trying to say and do a lot of things to distract us, so were not paying any attention to that. Taniya and I kept talking to each other after every ball, from a distance or up close. We kept motivating each other and said that we have to get this done,” added Rana.