A four-for by Jhulan Goswami and unbeaten 80 by Smriti Mandhana guided India’s women’s team to a convincing nine-wicket win against South Africa in the second ODI. And the team’s seasoned campaigner, Goswami referred to it as an ‘absolute team effort’.

Returning into international cricket after a year, India suffered a eight-wicket defeat in the first ODI a couple of days ago, but on Tuesday, it was a spirited show by the team which helped it to level the series.

READ: Jhulan, Smriti steer India to series-levelling win

“In the first match, we could not capitalise on the good start. We bowled here and there, but today, it was a much-disciplined attack. We batted well as well. Smriti played till the end and even Punam Raut (who remained unbeaten on 62) followed her. In this match, whatever we planned, we managed to execute it in the right way,” Goswami said.

“When you are coming back after a long lay-over, you need to settle down. In the first match, things were not up to the mark, and today, we were able to execute things well.”

She quit the T20I format in 2018 in a surprise announcement ahead of the T20 World Cup in the West Indies. “When I retired from T20Is, the most important thing for me was to just focus on one format. I had niggles here and there. It was quite difficult for me to maintain (my fitness).

“Then I spent a lot of time in training. I tried to do well everyday. As for me, I was doing a lot of training since lockdown. I just kept following that. Representing India is my biggest achievement. That’s my responsibility and job,” she said.

In the first fixture, Goswami claimed two wickets, but she bettered her performance in the second game, scalping a four-for. “I just bowled in the right areas, consistently. In the first match, I was bowling outside the off stump, but today, I tried to keep the ball in the right areas. In the morning, it was not easy for batsmen to play the shots,” she said.

On Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah announced that India women’s team will play a one-off Test against England later this year. It will be the team’s first Test outing since November, 2014 and the players are looking forward. “Everyone is very excited. We last played against South Africa in 2014, so we are going to play after six years. I would like to thank the BCCI for this,” she said. In the last Test against South Africa seven years ago, Mithali Raj’s team emerged as the winner.