England v India: Smriti Mandhana leads the improved tourists to victory in the first ODI

First one day international, Hove
England 227-7 (50 overs): Davidson-Richards 50 (61), Wyatt 43 (50); Sharma 2-33
India 232-3 (44.2 overs): Mandhana 91 (99), Harmanpreet 74* (94), Bhatia 50 (47); Cross 2-43
India won by seven wickets; lead the series 1-0

Smriti Mandhana scored a match-winning 91 to guide India to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over England in the first one-day international in Hove.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur scored an unbeaten 74 to take India to a target of 228 with 34 balls to spare.

Kate Cross took 2-43 but England’s young bowlers struggled, with Yastika Bhatia also making 50 for India.

England had earlier slumped to 94-5 before Alice Davidson-Richards’ unbeaten 50 reached 227-7.

India, who were consistent in the Twenty20 series England won 2-1 make a highly guaranteed performance and take advantage of the hosts’ inexperience.

Veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami conceded just 20 runs and took one wicket from his 10 overs, while Deepti Sharma claimed 2-33.

With England needing the rest of their senior players to step up in the absence of injured captains Heather Knight and Nat Sciver, batsman Danni Wyatt added a light-hearted 43, but stand-in skipper Amy Jones and opener Tammy Beaumont managed just 10 runs between them.

In reply, India lost Shafali Verma early but Mandhana and Bhatia, who missed two chances, added 96 for the second wicket, Harmanpreet calmly continued his side and ended the match with a six to take the tourists to 232-3.

The series continues with the second ODI in Canterbury on Wednesday.

It shows his inexperience in batting for England

England fielded a similar squad in the T20 series, while India struggled in cold and wet conditions in the afternoon matches.

But on a sunny day in Hove, England’s batsmen were tested with some disciplined and consistent bowling for the first time this summer.

Goswami, playing in his 202nd ODI, failed to deliver and England stumbled to 26-2 after the powerplay.

England were undone by some poor fielding, but a much-improved fielding display from India also piled on the pressure – exemplified by Harmanpreet’s stunning diving catch to remove Alice Capsey, making her ODI debut, for 19.

Davidson-Richards, playing in just her third ODI, led England’s recovery from 128-6, adding crucial low-order runs with Sophie Ecclestone, who hit 31, and Charlie Dean, who made 24 not out.

But their total always felt short and India made it easy to chase them down.

Mandhana is the path of composite India

England’s lack of experience was perhaps even more pronounced with the ball.

Without Katherine Brunt and Sciver, who is taking a break to focus on her mental health, England’s seamers struggled to achieve the same baffling consistency that Goswami managed.

Cross led the attack well but lacked support from Issy Wong and Davidson-Richards, who were given too many loose deliveries for Mandhana and Harmanpreet to take advantage of.

The hosts also struggled in the field. Bhatia was unseated by Wong and Jones, while Wong was dismissed by Harleen Deol.

Ecclestone and Dean were England’s economical but dangerous spinners as Mandhana played a classy innings with no options until he skied a delivery from Cross to Davidson-Richards.

Jones’ inexperience as a captain was evident – England had no answer for Mandhana’s effortless scoring across the ground or Harmanpreet’s composure.

“England must not panic” – the reaction

England captain Amy Jones: “It’s disappointing. We didn’t get enough runs with the bat, that was the main problem, but Alice [Davidson-Richards] he hit it brilliantly through the middle to give him a chance.

“We thought it was a more difficult wicket, but India played well and put a lot of pressure on us early on. Losing regular wickets made it difficult to progress, it was difficult for us.”

Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur: “We are very happy because it was an important victory for everyone.

“I was really happy with the way I batted because it was very important, first of all, for me to get those runs, but also for the team. The partnership between me and Smriti was very important and the way we built it was great.”

England’s Georgia Elwiss in BBC Test Match Special: “England shouldn’t panic. It wasn’t their best performance, but they’re not a bad side.

“They have just played and India are a good side too. They are allowed to do that.

“If England turn up and play their best cricket on Wednesday, India are more than capable of beating them.”