Harmanpreet Kaur hit a sublime 143 not out from 111 balls to guide India to an 88-run victory over England in the second one-day international in Canterbury.
After being put in to bat, India scored an imposing 333-5, the highest total England have ever conceded in a home ODI.
Captain Harmanpreet struck 18 fours and four sixes in her innings, supported by Harleen Deol’s 58.
Renuka Singh Thakur then starred with the ball, taking 4-57 as England were bowled out for 245 in another disappointing performance.
Danni Wyatt and Amy Jones steered England to 167-4, before Wyatt’s dismissal for 65 in the 30th over sparked a collapse of four wickets for just 16 runs.
The win takes India to an unassailable 2-0 lead, securing their first ODI series win in England since 1999.
Again, England struggled in the absence of key senior players, with Katherine Brunt resting, captain Heather Knight injured and Nat Sciver taking a break for her mental health.
The inexperience of England’s bowling attack was stark and India capitalised. The bowling figures of Freya Kemp and Lauren Bell were England’s two most expensive of all time – Kemp returning 1-82 and Bell 1-79, and as a team they bowled 24 wides.
The series continues with the third and final ODI at Lord’s on Saturday – the first time England will have played at the ground since their World Cup triumph in 2017.
Brutal learning curve for England’s bowlers
The impact of injuries and absences on England’s bowling attack has been well-documented, with Tash Farrant’s back injury also causing further selection headaches.
And at Canterbury it all unravelled.
Kemp had an ODI debut to forget, while Bell also struggled for the consistency that England have been craving.
The experienced Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone also went at more than six runs an over, but spinner Charlie Dean held her nerve brilliantly with 1-39.
There are several selection dilemmas for whoever replaces Lisa Keightley as head coach at the end of this series, but particularly in the bowling department: the three highest ODI totals England have ever conceded have all come in 2022.
There were questionable tactics from Amy Jones, who has unexpectedly found herself leading the side in the absence of Knight and Sciver. But the move to stick with her five bowlers cost England.
They all bowled 10 overs each, despite Bell and Kemp in particular being carted around the ground by Harmanpreet and Deol. Part-time spinners Alice Capsey and Emma Lamb did not bowl a single over between them.
It is a young, inexperienced bowling attack in transition from the retirement of Anya Shrubsole and one which is preparing for Brunt’s retirement, but they looked lost and lacked leadership when faced with Harmanpreet at her brutal, brilliant best.
Harmanpreet’s class punishes England
Recently, India have shown an over-reliance on their opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana.
But when India slipped to 99-3, Harmanpreet played a masterful, chanceless innings, accumulating patiently to reach her 50 from 64 balls before capitalising on England’s wayward bowling to reach her century at a run a ball.
She then smashed her last 43 runs from just 11 balls, and finished unbeaten to take her average as captain to a remarkable 116.2.
It was a destructive masterclass of white-ball batting, but England’s tactics played right into her hands.
As Jones persisted with the same bowlers, the pace became predictable as Harmanpreet scored all around the ground with impeccable timing, and the occasional glimpse of flair with two stunning sixes carved over extra cover.
Even the world’s best bowler Ecclestone had no answer, and England slumped to their fifth defeat in seven matches.
England’s middle order shows some fight
England’s pursuit of the record run chase in women’s ODIs started as woefully as the bowling ended, with Tammy Beaumont run out for just six by Harmanpreet.
Sophia Dunkley and Emma Lamb also fell inside the first 10 overs and England were immediately on the back foot.
But Danni Wyatt anchored England’s innings with 65, sharing valuable middle-order partnerships with Alice Capsey and Jones.
Capsey’s 39 once again demonstrated her exciting potential – she hit her first 24 runs in boundaries, while Jones made the same score – her highest of the summer so far.
Dean’s 37 from 44 balls allowed England to scrap beyond 200, but with the run-rate so high, the regular wickets cost England as India bowled with impressive discipline to secure another comprehensive win.
‘Harmanpreet flicked a switch and took it away from us’
England captain Amy Jones: “Obviously every loss is tough and they got away from us there. Harmanpreet batted brilliant and almost flicked a switch and really took it to us at the end. We struggled to defend at the end and we just didn’t get close enough.
“We needed some big partnerships and were lacking a match-winning innings as well.”
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur: “Today was very important. Everyone who was getting a chance utilised it.
“When I was batting it was not an easy wicket to bat on but England were bowling well and I was taking my time. After that I gave that freedom to myself because I was well settled and just wanted to carry on.”