England Women vs India Women third ODI: Stunning Raj innings keeps series alive as India win in tense chase 

A heroic 75 not out from India captain Mithali Raj gave her side a thrilling victory after a tense finish in the final ODI of the series at New Road. 

India's pursuit of 220 came down to the final over with Raj getting her side over the line with three balls remaining, sealing the win by four wickets. 

Earlier in the day England were left frustrated with the bat, only managing to reach a disappointing 219-9 after strong performance with the ball from the tourists. 

Sharma takes three as England batters struggle 

With grey clouds still aplenty in the sky following an hour long rain delay, India captain Raj unsurprisingly chose to put England into bat first with the match reduced to 47 over per side. 

Throughout the series thus far England had looked comfortably the more accomplished side with the bat, however, with the hard new ball in hand, the Indian bowlers were immediately causing problems for the hosts openers. 

Lauren Winfield-Hill played and missed a number of times while facing veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami in the early stages, and then, the big wicket of Tammy Beaumont fell, the dangerous 30-year-old misjudging the length of a straight delivery from Shikha Pandey and finding herself comprehensively out lbw without troubling the scorers. 

Beaumont's duck largely set the tone for the remainder of the England innings with none of of the English batters ever truly looking settled on a slow New Road wicket. 

There was a promising top-order recovery for a time though, contributions of 36 from Winfield-Hill, 46 from captain Heather Knight and 49 from Nat Sciver helped the home side reach 151-3 in the 34th over and looking likely to post a score of at least 250-300. 

These hopes of a big first innings score quickly began to crumble however, with Deepti Sharma taking three wickets in her next five overs. 

The all-rounder firstly having Sciver caught spectacularly in the deep by Smriti Mandhana, who took the ball at full pelt after sprinting around the boundary edge to take the ball before it went over for six, and then having Amy Jones caught at mid-on for 17 before finishing up  by bowling youngster Sophia Dunkley late on for 28. 

Through the duration of their innings England consistently struggled to get the ball to the boundary with any kind of regularity with the scoring rate rarely reaching over five an over and their frustration would go on to be compounded as they lost their final five wickets for just 42 runs. 

Other than a late cameo of 16 off 9 balls from number eleven Kate Cross, the hosts tail failed to add much to the total with England eventually finishing on a score of 219-9  from their 47 overs. 

As much as England's batters were guilty of not giving anywhere near their most effective performances at New Road, credit had to be given to the disciplined showing from the Indian bowlers with Goswami and Sharma the particular standouts.   

Raj masterclass sees India home in tense finish 

After coming into the game 6-2 down in the multiformat series, India were in desperate need of a victory otherwise they would need to win every game in the upcoming T-20 series just to avoid defeat. 

And their pursuit of 220 got off to the ideal start with openers Mandhana and Shafali Verma reaching 46-0 in the first nine overs before Verma chipped one up to Knight off the bowling of Cross for 19. 

Their good start seemed at risk of mounting for little, however, when Jemimah Rodrigues went for just four shortly after, leaving India 66-2. 

Rodrigues' wicket brought captain Raj to the wicket, though, who used her experience to bring a feeling of calmness to the Indian innings which made it feel as if they were always in control of the chase. 

The 38-year-old began her innings rather slowly but manged to build partnerships with Harmanpreet Kaur, who would be out for 16, and Sharma, who made 18, eventually bringing the score to 164-5 with eight overs remaining. 

Along with Sneh Rana, Raj perfectly worked her way up through the gears in the closing stages hitting boundaries off seamers Katherine Brunt and Sciver and carefully rotating the strike off spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn

By the time Ecclestone got Rana out for 24 in the penultimate the result already seemed sealed with the tourists needing just six off the last. 

Raj herself fittingly hitting the winning runs with a beautifully timed cover drive for four off Brunt on the same day she became the all time highest run scorer in women's ODI cricket.

Raj's heroics means that the series stays alive with the score now sitting at 6-4 in favour of England ahead of the T20 series which begins on Friday.