Former UAE star Mahika Gaur stars on England ODI debut in emphatic win over Sri Lanka

Teenage bowler takes three wickets and is named player of the match in seven-wicket victory

Mahika Gaur, second right, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Anushka Sanjeewani during the first ODI between England and Sri Lanka. PA
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Former UAE star Mahika Gaur enjoyed a dream One Day International debut for England on Saturday by taking three wickets in the thumping seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first of the three-match series.

Gaur, 17, played 19 T20 Internationals for the UAE before making the switch to England, and she immediately made her impact in the 50-over format, claiming her first wicket when she struck the top of captain Chamari Athapaththu’s off-stump in the fifth over before sending Anushka Sanjeewani’s middle stump flying.

Gaur later wrapped up the innings by getting one through the gate to bowl Udeshika Prabodhani and set England a 107-run target.

Fellow debutant Lauren Filer also took three wickets, as did Sarah Glenn, with Alice Capsey picking up the other one as the visitors were all out for 106.

On their return to the one-day squad, Tammy Beaumont and Emma Lamb put on a 61-run opening partnership before another debutant, Maia Bouchier, hit the winning runs with a mammoth 32 overs to spare.

The victory at Chester-le-Street was the perfect response after England lost the T20 leg of the series on Thursday, with the next ODI taking place at Northampton on Tuesday.

Gaur, who caught the eye of the England selectors after a series of good performances this summer, most recently for Manchester Originals in her maiden season of the Women's Hundred, was named player of the match.

"It's about just bowling your best ball for longer," Gaur said. "I've not played much 50-over cricket but there's more in it for the bowlers because [the batters] not going as hard at you. I think the main thing (the coaches said) was to keep doing what I do best – swing it back in."

England captain Heather Knight lavished praise on Gaur but warned that the prodigiously talented bowler also needs to be protected.

"Mahika bowled some magic balls," she said. "It's quite rare to have three debutants. I thought all of them were really good. We've got a big squad and Mahika is 17 ... you've got to remember that, so we've got to look after her."

Updated: September 10, 2023, 5:06 AM