The much-awaited one-off Test match between India and England started with full of surprises from India’s end, as they went with a team no one could have predicted. With both Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht out of the playing 11, India’s decision to go with three seamers and two off-spinners against a team with no left-hand batters baffled many. England on the other hand selected a very predictable side with only one new addition in the form of Sophia Dunkley. With all the stump mic chatter and great performances from both the sides, it was a very entertaining day for the viewers. Let’s look at the talking points for day one.
Important Toss to win for England
Among much controversy regarding the used pitch for the Test match, it was almost certain that batting first on it will be a huge advantage. It was no surprise when England captain Heather Knight took the decision to bat first straight away after winning the toss. With very little support for the bowlers, pitch looked like a batting paradise.
Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont’s dream run continues, England top order dominates
England captain Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont continued their purple patch. Knight, scoring 91, 59 and 73 in the three RHF trophy matches she played this year, continued her excellent form and scored a classy 95 today. She looked completely in control through out her innings and looked invincible with her great shot selections until Deepti Sharma got the best of her with a superb delivery. Beaumont scored her fourth straight half century in internationals before getting dismissed by Sneh Rana for 66 runs. Lauren Winfield-Hill and Natalie Sciver, although a bit lucky as their catches were dropped early in their innings at first slip and mid-on by Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma, looked very well in touch throughout as well, as England top order successfully built three half century partnerships in the first three wickets.
India’s fightback in third session
From 230/2 at one point, India managed to turn around the game pretty quickly in the third session as they finished the day with 269/6, with two relatively new batters on the crease. Thanks to some outstanding fielding efforts on the ground and magical spells of Deepti and Sneh Rana with the old ball, India kept their grip alive on day one of the historic match.
India’s debutants shine through the day
Starting from an outstanding catch behind the stumps by Taniya Bhatia in the delivery of Pooja Vastrakar, India’s debutants heavily dominated throughout the day in all three sessions. Sneh Rana, making her come back in international cricket after playing the last match for India five years ago, ended up being the highest wicket taker for India in day one, in her first match in the white jersey. She grabbed three wickets as she troubled English batters throughout the day. Shafali Verma, another star debutant had an impressive day on the field. She took a blinder in Sneh Rana’s ball which dismissed the dangerous looking Tammy Beaumont. Vastrakar although struggling a bit with her line, gave India the much-needed breakthrough when England was looking to take the game away from India in the first session itself. Taniya Bhatia was also impressive behind the stumps as India conceded only 2 byes and 1 leg bye through out the 92 overs of day one.
Impressive day on the field for Indians
Despite an early catch miss in the slip cordon, India looked very much tidy in all areas of the field. From Shafali’s impressive stop at point to the diving saves of Mithali and Smriti, they looked very much present on the ground all the times. And although, they are not used to playing 90 overs a day, it never reflected in their body language. Three super impressive catches by Bhatia, Verma and Deepti Sharma was the highlight of the day.
In day two, India will very much look forward to wrap up the English tail in the first hour of the game whereas England would try to score enough to not have to bat long in their 2nd innings. All in all, If rain doesn’t play spoil sport, we are going to see a very interesting day’s play.