After a long wait, the Indian Women’s team got an opportunity to play a Test. The first day was action-packed. India handed debuts to five players, including the young sensation Shafali Verma. In the host camp, it was a historical day for Sophia Dunkley as she became the first woman of colour to feature in the playing XI for England.
After winning the toss, England skipper Knight elected to bat on a used pitch. Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill were off to a good start, posting 69 runs for the first wicket. Then Knight and Beaumont put on a 71-run partnership for the second and followed up by a 90-run partnership for the third wicket between Knight and Natalie Sciver. Until the second session, the ball was in England’s court. But, the Indian spinners turned it around in the last hour. They picked up four wickets for 39 runs to hand India the upper hand in the third session.
The England skipper was their highest scorer, missing a deserving century by five runs. Opener Beaumont, constructed a well-made 66 before she became the first Test wicket for Sneh Rana. It was a day of ups and downs for both the teams, all-in-all an excellent day of cricket. As the game heads towards Day-2, here are a few things to watch out for:
The weather always plays a big factor when playing in conditions like England. Even though it's summer, the rain is always around the corner. As for day two, there is some rain expected in the morning, before the start of the play but things are expected to clear out as the game gets along. By noon, there are some sunny spells expected.
Second innings batting discomfort in England
The numbers are encouraging for teams batting in the first innings and England batters got off to a great start. However, it has been a difficult feat for teams batting second. In W-Tests since 2010 in England, batters have averaged 34.2 in the first innings. Whereas, it plummets down to 20.7 in the second innings. A huge contrasting number in reference to the first innings. This is certainly a concerning factor for India as they would be batting in the second innings.
Can Rana create history by bagging a five-wicket haul?
Rana is among the five debutants for India in this Test. A bowling all-rounder by role, she was the only specialist spinner India picked in the XI. Deepti Sharma is more considered as a batting all-rounder who can bowl. By snaffling Beaumont as her first wicket, Rana was off the mark on Test wickets. Later, with back to back strikes of Amy Jones (1) and Georgia Elwiss (5), she railroaded India back in the Test in the third session. On day two, she will definitely be eyeing for a five-wicket haul on her debut and become the first-ever woman to achieve this feat on debut on English soil. In addition, she will be the second Indian after Shubhangi Kulkarni to bag a five-wicket haul on debut in W-Tests. Kulkarni (5/48) achieved this in the first-ever Test played by India in 1976 against West Indies.
A young and exciting Shafali
Every expert in the cricketing fraternity knows something about this young 17-year-old pocket dynamo Shafali Verma. Since she made her debut in the shortest format of the game in 2019, her name has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue. However, the biggest question is how will she shift her temperament from the shortest format of the game to the longest. More so, because this will her first-ever multi-day game experience.