One-off Test, Day 1: India Women fight back through spinners at Bristol | Cricket News – Times of India
Fine knocks by skipper Heather Knight (95, 175b, 9×4), who was unlucky to miss her century, and opener Tammy Beaumont (66, 130b, 5×4) England were cruising at 230 for two at one stage in the final session, before India bounced back with four quick wickets in the final session as the wicket began aiding spin and became slower.
Leading England for the 100th time across all formats, Knight celebrated the occasion in style. She added 71 for the second wicket with Beaumont, and then found an able ally in Natalie Sciver (42, 75b, 6×4), as the duo accumulated 90 for the third wicket, before disaster struck for England, with three of the batters falling lbw in succession. All three batters had their DRS appeals turned down, as Rana and Sharma shared five wickets between them.
Match highlights, Day 1
Sharma first had Sciver was out lbw while trying to sweep the off-spinner, before ‘keeper-bat Amy Jones and Knight were trapped in front of the stumps while trying to play Rana on the backfoot. At close, Sophia Dunkley (12*), who made history — becoming the first black woman to play Test cricket for England — was in the middle with Katherine Brunt (7*).
Earlier, Beaumont added 69 for the first wicket with Lauren Winfield-Hill (35, 63b, 4×4, 2×6) to provide England a perfect start. After winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a wicket which looked fairly good despite being used for a T20 Blast game last week, the hosts enjoyed a decent morning session, reaching 86 for the loss of a sole wicket in Winfield-Hill. India let off Winfield-Hill by dropping her in the slips, and paid the price as she smashed two sixes on the leg side. Ultimately, Pooja Vastrakar provided the first breakthrough for the visitors, getting Winfield-Hill to edge a drive, which was beautifully caught by Tania Bhatia, diving to her right.
Thereafter, Beaumont and Knight dug in, frustrating India’s bowlers further. Driving and pulling the bowlers with ease, both merry to score their third half-century each. Beaumont showed exactly why she enjoys an average of 45.14 in the ODIs. Much to India’s relief, she was eventually dismissed thanks to a brilliant catch by debutant Shafali Verma, who lunged forward before diving and pouching the ball one-handed catch, off Sneh Rana. It was Rana’s maiden wicket in her first Test. Surprisingly, she was preferred over leggie Poonam Yadav — one of the only three India players to have an A grade contract — but justified the call. Clearly, the admirable performance of both of India’s off-spinners on the day has much to do with India’s head coach Ramesh Powar, an offie of repute in his playing days in domestic cricket.
Playing their first Test in almost seven years without even a practice game, thanks to multiple quarantining, the Indian bowlers looked rusty, before waking up late in the day. They would be disappointed that both their lead seamers Jhulan Goswami, who toiled for 18 overs, and Shikha Pandey, returned wicketless.
As expected, teenaged sensation Shafali Verma was amongst the five Test debutants fielded by India.
Brief Scores: England 269-6 (Heather Knight 95, Tammy Beaumont 66, Lauren Winfield-Hill 35; Sneh Rana 3-77, Deepti Sharma 2-50) vs India.
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