Shafali Verma Breaks Record With Test Double Century, Makes Fastest-Ever Woman Opener

A record breaking double century came flying over by the young opener Shafali Verma that lead India to the highest ever single-day total in women’s Test Cricket.

A record breaking double century came flying over by the young opener Shafali Verma that lead India to the highest ever single-day total in women’s Test Cricket. The stark performance unfolded on the opening day of the one-off Test against South Africa in Chennai on Friday. The outstanding total of 205 of merely 194 balls by Shafali together with a formidable 292-run partnership with Smriti Mandhana (149) added to the massive total of 525 for 4 for India.

Shafali’s double century surpassed the previous record set by Annabel Sutherland of Australia, who reached the milestone in 248 deliveries against South Africa in February. At just 20 years old, Shafali also became the second Indian woman to score a double century in Test cricket, following in the footsteps of the legendary Mithali Raj. Mithali had scored 214 off 407 balls against England at Taunton in August 2002.

The brilliant total of 525 for 4 has broken the 89-year old record for the most runs that India scored in a single day of women’s Test cricket. The earlier record of 431/2 was set by the England women’s team at Lancaster Park, Christchurch against New Zealand in the year 1935.

Shafali’s innings ended shortly after she completed her double century, being run out for 205 off 197 balls. Her knock included 23 boundaries and eight sixes. This was only her fifth Test match, with her previous best score being 96. It was her extraordinary batting acumen that had left the Chepauk crowd in awe making the South African bowlers struggle to find their perfect rhythm.

India, having elected to bat first, capitalized on the familiar conditions and the inexperience of the South African bowlers. Shafali and Mandhana quickly put the visitors on the back foot, taking the score to 130 without loss by lunch. As the pitch eased further, the duo continued to dominate, scoring at nearly a run a ball.

Despite some initial resistance from the pacers in the post-lunch session, the spinners were unable to contain the Indian batters. Both Shafali and Mandhana brought up their centuries around the same time, taking the team total past 250. Mandhana was the first to fall, caught in the slip cordon off Delmi Tucker for 149, her best score in the format.

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The partnership of 292 runs between Shafali and Mandhana was India’s highest for any wicket in Test cricket and the second-highest in Women’s Test history, just behind the 309-run partnership between Australia’s LA Reeler and DA Annetts against England in 1987.

Shafali then partnered briefly with Satheesh Shubha (15) before a mix-up with Jemimah Rodrigues ended her stay at the crease. Jemimah, who scored 55, brought up her third Test half-century before falling to Tucker. India continued to pile on the runs, reaching 450/4 by the time Jemimah was dismissed.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (42 not out) and Richa Ghosh (43 not out) then took charge, ensuring India became the first team to surpass the 500-run mark in a single day of a women’s Test match. Their unbroken partnership added the final touches to a day of record-breaking performances and historic achievements for Indian women’s cricket.