England v India: women’s Test match, day one – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 34 PM GMT+0

Heather Knight fell narrowly short of a century on the first day of the one-off Test in Bristol

Raf Nicholson's day one report

Stumps - England 269 for 6 after Day 1

A very good day of Test cricket in the end. England got off to a very bright start thanks to Lauren Winfield-Hill, who belted a couple of sixes in a cheerful display. Tammy Beaumont kept going when Heather knight came to the middle, with the former making 66 and the latter very nearly getting a century with 95.

But from 230 for 2, that’s when India started clawing back into the game. Nat Sciver fell after an aggressive 42, then Amy Jones followed quickly, creating enough disruption that Knight joined the exodus. Georgia Elwiss didn’t last long, and it was down to Dunkley on debut to join with the ever-so-experienced Katherine Brunt to see out the day. Dunkley has shown that she can do what’s required in this format, and will resume tomorrow with the chance to take England on.

The change in the game was all down to India’s spinners, with Rana taking three wickets and Deepti two. They were sufficiently suffocating, and just kept asking questions of the batters for long enough to draw mistakes.

Still, this is probably already a competitive score given the usual progression of women’s Tests. England won’t want to soak up too much time batting tomorrow, they would be better off going after faster runs even if it means being bowled out. I’m not confident we’ll see that approach, as caution tends to overtake a lot of players in this format.

That’s it from us today, we’ll be back on the OBO with Day 2 tomorrow.

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92nd over: England 269-6 (Dunkley 12, Brunt 7) Last over of the day to be bowled by Rana. Last over because we’ve run out of time, not because we’ve reached the 100 required. Dunkley tries the cut shot again, big under-edge to cover. Not shy. Blocks out the rest, and Dunkley sees out the day.

91st over: England 269-6 (Dunkley 12, Brunt 7) The bowling keeps chopping and changing. Goswami is off after two overs, only one of them with the new ball. Pandey is given the Kooka instead. Bowls nicely, swinging it into the pads, hits Brunt but it would have been going down. They get a leg bye. Gets a better line next ball and it hits the pad of Dunkley, with Pandey appealing vociferously. With the swing, that might have been missing leg stump even though it hit her in front of middle and off. India go for the review, and it shows another thing. A faint little inside edge. Sue Redfern once again has her decision vindicated by the review system. Pandey keeps that dangerous line going, swinging into the pads, and Dunkley has her work cut out to keep safe.

90th over: England 267-6 (Dunkley 11, Brunt 7) Rana will get to bowl spin with the new ball, and see whether there’s anything for her in terms of pace off the wicket or bounce. Dunkley plays a very good cut shot but Shafali dives well backward of point and stops any run. Runs come from a batting error though, as Dunkley plays for turn when the ball skips on straight, and edges two runs wide of slip. Dunkley into double figures, England five minutes from safety.

89th over: England 265-6 (Dunkley 9, Brunt 7) Now the new ball comes out. Goswami has had her warm-up over, and is ready to go with the fresh one. They’re using Kookaburra balls in this match, not Dukes, for some reason. God knows with the intricacies of cricket sometimes. But Goswami makes it swing! Straight away, red and shiny, seam upright, it swings big down the leg side. Brunt signals to her partner. The next ball does the same again. If she gets that line corrected, starting the ball outside off stump, it’ll be hard for Brunt to keep out. She over-corrects to the off side, and gets wided for her trouble. No run from the bat in that over, but it didn’t threaten.

88th over: England 264-6 (Dunkley 9, Brunt 7) Deepti Sharma continues, so that’s why we haven’t seen the new ball. Just a single from the over to Brunt.

87th over: England 263-6 (Dunkley 9, Brunt 6) This is interesting. Goswami will come on to bowl, with 24 minutes left in the day, but no new ball as yet. Will they keep Rana at the other end, or will Goswami switch in the new ball after a couple of range-finders? Three catchers in the cordon. Straight up and down on the off stump goes The Gos, and Slam Dunkley just gets forward in defensive pose. Next ball, cuts close to her body to cover and darts for the run, even though Harmanpreet sprawls to stop the ball passing by. Brunt stabs a ball off her pad and gets through for a run.

86th over: England 261-6 (Dunkley 8, Brunt 5) Busy work from Brunt, backing away and cutting a couple of times but finding the field, charging and smoking it straight to mid on for no run. Getting a little annoyed at no value for shots. More tweaks to the field, more catchers in close on the leg side, and Rana gets through her over without conceding a run.

85th over: England 261-6 (Dunkley 8, Brunt 5) Best moment so far for Dunkley. She sees Deepti overpitch, waits for the ball to float up, then whisks her bat through the line of it, out through cover for four.

84th over: England 256-6 (Dunkley 4, Brunt 4) Rana around the wicket, Poonam Raut is one of the players at bat-pad now, so maybe she wasn’t having a back problem as I thought was the case earlier. Dunkley opens up that stance again and whips hard through the leg side but it’s well stopped with a dive at midwicket. Only a Brunt single from the over.

83rd over: England 255-6 (Dunkley 4, Brunt 3) From slip to the bowling crease, Deepti keeps rolling the arm over. Dunkley steps out, gets her front leg out of the way in T20 style, and flicks behind square for a run. Manipulating her approach to the ball to find a gap. That’s good batting. A second bat-pad comes in on the leg side for Brunt, but she clouts three runs through midwicket nonetheless.

82nd over: England 251-6 (Dunkley 3, Brunt 0) That’ll strengthen the argument to keep the spinners on. Goswami may well not mind, she’s done a lot of work today. Katherine Brunt to the middle, can bat.

WICKET! Elwiss c Deepti b Rana 5, England 251-6

All-run four! That’s a sight to see. Elwiss backs away from Rana and carves through backward point, and Deepti at slip takes a while to realise that there’s no one back there. She tracks back to the boundary rope, where the ball has pulled up just inside, and launches the long throw back. But at Dunkley’s urging, Elwiss comes back for the fourth. Dunkley was done about a pitch length before Elwiss. And it seems that the run tires out Elwiss more than Deepti. Because the very next ball has some lovely drift, away from the right-hander, and Elwiss steps into a cover drive but doesn’t time her swing, taking a thick edge to slip. It’s travelling, but Deepti snares it at ankle height.

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81st over: England 247-5 (Dunkley 3, Elwiss 1) India will keep the old ball. For now. Deepti carries on. Dunkley dinks a single, Elwiss gets off the mark with a sweep.

“Right. The Eumenides have your hotel room number,” writes Allan. “Expect a visit at about 2.37 am... it won’t be nice...”

Eumenides ones, or dose ones? Euripides trousers, you pay for ‘em.

80th over: England 245-5 (Dunkley 2, Elwiss 0) Rana getting some serious bounce on occasion, up to the splice. The new ball will be available after this over, but spin has been doing the job. What to do?

Also, India’s over rate is atrocious. Normally in the women’s game we race through the overs without the delays of men’s cricket. Today, at 20 minutes from stumps, they’re about to finish 80 overs and they’re supposed to get to 100. They can take the extra half hour but it shouldn’t have been necessary. And even with that, they won’t get through 20 overs in 50 minutes.

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79th over: England 245-5 (Dunkley 1, Elwiss 0) Slip, short leg, and a short midwicket catching as well. Two new batters at the crease, the chance to ramp up the pressure. Georgia Elwiss to the middle. Deepti coming back over the wicket, angling in, making sure everything has to be played into that leg-side net.

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WICKET! Knight lbw Deepti 95, England 244-5

It’s not my fault, Allan. Blame Heather for not hitting the ball. Deepti Sharma around the wicket, gets the ball to straighten down the line, Knight gets completely pulled around by the turn, ends up with both pads together facing back down the pitch which is never a good position from which to address the ball. She can’t lay bat on it and it crashes into her pad in front of off stump. Has it straightened enough, after pitching in line? Just, says England’s last DRS review, which shows umpire’s call on the stumps. England retain the review, but not the captain. No century for Knight.

India’s Deepti Sharma appeals successfully for the wicket of England’s Heather Knight.
India’s Deepti Sharma appeals successfully for the wicket of England’s Heather Knight. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
England captain Heather Knight heads back to the pavilion after losing her wicket five runs short of a century.
The England captain heads back to the pavilion after losing her wicket five runs short of a century. Photograph: Ashley Allen/Getty Images

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78th over: England 244-4 (Knight 95, Dunkley 1) Off the mark is Dunkley, stepping back and shovelling to square leg. Knight edges down to deep third for three, after nearly being run out earlier in the Rana over. Mithali’s throw didn’t hit the non-striker’s stumps.

77th over: England 237-4 (Knight 89, Dunkley 0) Deepti goes around the wicket now to Knight, just trying to keep her quiet and keep the pressure on. After a few deliveries Knight squeezes one to leg, and Dunkley is the player who calls her through for the sharp single. Takes strike now. Plays around her front pad defending Deepti, then walks at her a bit to defend down the wicket. Still not off the mark.

76th over: England 236-4 (Knight 88, Dunkley 0) A nice moment here, Sophia Dunkley comes out to bat in Test cricket for the first time. She has had an absolute belter of a season thus far domestically, and is good to go. She blocks the first ball and there’s a chorus of shouts from India’s close fielders. Then she leaves a really wide ball. Sees out the over with those two deliveries.

WICKET! Jones lbw Rana 1, England 236-4

Beautiful piece of bowling! The smarts of Sneh Rana. She’s been bowling around the wicket to Knight. Immediately switches over the wicket when Jones comes on strike. Perfect line and some turn in, but also puts some extra effort into the ball. It skips on faster than her previous deliveries that Jones has been watching from the non-striker’s end. Turns past the attempted defensive shot and hits Jones on the back thigh pad. Umpire gives it. Jones is not especially tall, and Rana hasn’t been getting a lot of bounce, so the DRS review from Jones shows the bounce flattening out and crashing into middle stump. Two for Rana.

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75th over: England 235-3 (Knight 87, Jones 1) Spin remains the avenue. Six overs away from the new ball. Deepti twirls. Three singles.

74th over: England 232-3 (Knight 85, Jones 0) Rana stays around the wicket for another over. Knight flicks a single square, bringing Jones on strike. She marks guard on centre. There’s a slip and a short leg. Big defensive stride from Jones. Rana has bowled a no-ball. Cue the usual stuff about unforgivable from spinners. Field could be more attacking, there’s a huge gap between slip and about extra cover, even wide mid-off.

“Heather Knight on 58 and you’re saying she looks ripe for a ton? Are you mad?” I just spotted Allan F’s frantic missive. “Do you not believe in the Eumenides?? They’ll have you... but only after they’ve had Heather. You have to stand on one leg and whistle The Entry of the Meistersingers (all of it) to avoid this awful event.”

I’m sorry to do this to you, Allan, but no, I don’t believe in it. The jinx doesn’t exist. No such thing. It’s the height of solipsism from spectators, the irrepressible human desire to put ourselves at the centre of everything. And it’s the pit of tedious worn-out non-humour from commentators. I don’t want to sound pompous, but... I guess I’m going to have to accept sounding pompous.

Heather Knight will be fine. Or not. Entirely up to her, my friend.

73rd over: England 230-3 (Knight 84) Wicket off the last ball of the over. Amy Jones will be next in.

WICKET! Sciver lbw Deepti Sharma 42, England 230-3

Breakthrough for India! Deepti really loops that one up, Sciver goes down to sweep, and misses. That risk that we mentioned before. She hasn’t under-edged it, and she was hit on the toe in front of middle. Why she wanted to review it, I’m not sure, but it hit her boot on the full. The review is burned and so is England’s hitter.

72nd over: England 227-2 (Knight 82, Sciver 41) Rana around the wicket to Knight and Sciver, giving away a couple of singles only.

Andrew Benton has been perambulating. “I rejigged my daily walk to go past the Nevil road entrance earlier this afternoon, only to be disappointed to find there was no bustle, no crowd noise, no nothing really, aside from a handful of stewards with little to do until chucking out time. And then I thought how grateful we all should be for this, after the last year and a half. Whatever may be said about the men’s team, and the pitch today, the ECB did a great job of keeping international games going.”

71st over: England 225-2 (Knight 81, Sciver 40) Not worried by the drop, Sciver. Plays a real bottom-handed straight thwack along the ground that is saved, then Harmanpreet overpitches outside off and Sciver waits for the ball and cover drives for four. The bowler responds with another shredder that turns and hits the inside of Sciver’s front pad, almost squeezing back through her legs onto the stumps.

70th over: England 220-2 (Knight 81, Sciver 35) A couple of singles to Rana and the partnership is suddenly up to 80.

69th over: England 218-2 (Knight 80, Sciver 34) More turn for Harmanpreet. Gets one fizzing past Knight’s inside edge and down the leg side off her hip. Knight gets off strike. More turn that nearly sees Sciver dismissed! She tries to drive, inside edge into the ground and straight to short leg. Mandhana backhands at the stumps and might have caught her out of her ground with a direct hit, but Taniya Bhatia had to take the bails off. Then a whip across the line and dropped at midwicket. It’s Deepti Sharma. Sciver hit that ball hard and flat, it was travelling, but Shafali starts to dive across and reach for the ball when really she could have stayed still and let it come to her. It was heading just to her side and flat. Not an easy catch but regulation for international cricket, and there’s another chance gone.

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68th over: England 216-2 (Knight 79, Sciver 33) Rana comes around the wicket to Knight, looking for another angle. Right-arm off-break to a right-hander. A couple looking to straighten down the line of the stumps, a couple sliding across, including one that takes an outside slice of the bat for two as Knight drives square. Heather Knight just mutters to herself, then misses out on a low dipping full toss to close the over.

67th over: England 214-2 (Knight 77, Sciver 33) Turn! At last! Coming from wide of the crease, that ball from Harmanpreet, but it sizzles in sharply enough to threaten off stump, and has Knight jamming her gloves down on it. That ball was pitched up a fraction more than Harmanpreet’s previous offerings, and she got rewarded. Knight turns over the strike, and another fuller ball beats Sciver! Trying a big slog-sweep, and it skips over her top edge and into the keeper’s gloves. It’s all going well until Harmanpreet drops short to close the over, and Sciver is back in a flash and cutting through cover for four. They’ve gone at better than four an over during this session.

66th over: England 209-2 (Knight 76, Sciver 29) Especially as spinners tire, they tend to drop short. Rana does so, and Knight is alert enough to cut her for four. This comes one ball after playing a little lap shot around the corner for two.

65th over: England 202-2 (Knight 69, Sciver 29) Harmanpreet Kaur on for a bowl for the first time today, fresh off a 9-wicket haul in her last start. The only problem was, that was seven years ago. She’s also an off-spinner, so again no variety. Gives a lot of flight, pitches too short to be much of a threat in that first over, but Sciver respects all the deliveries that are straight. The one that’s wide, she cuts for four. There’s the 200 for England, right on top.

64th over: England 198-2 (Knight 69, Sciver 25) Mithali Raj recognises the situation, and decides to disrupt Sciver’s groove with a faster bowler. Vastrakar returns, but slips down the leg side at one point and there’s an easy glance for Knight that goes the distance.

63rd over: England 192-2 (Knight 64, Sciver 24) It looks increasingly like it’s on for Nat Sciver now. She’s set, she’s happy against the spinners, and she’s looking to take the initiative in a kind of way that she didn’t do last time she played this format against Australia in 2019. Using her feet, making space, this time going off side against Rana, carving two through cover. Less convincing for Knight, who edges one off the inside past short leg, and one off the outside to deep third. Gets runs for both, however. The 50 partnership comes up.

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62nd over: England 185-2 (Knight 60, Sciver 21) Deepti with the spin pairing carrying on, the new ball still 18 overs away, and a run rate deficit to make up. They only got through 55 overs by tea. Sciver has been very inclined to play across the line today, pulling wherever possible, or sweeping if it’s really full. A ball in this over is well below the knee roll but she goes well back in the crease and heaves across the line, hitting the midwicket gap for four. If someone can get through that shot, she’s vulnerable. Ones and twos as well, a big over goes for nine.

61st over: England 176-2 (Knight 58, Sciver 14) Rana continues, singles coming easily. Heather Knight already has one Test ton from her seven matches. Great chance for another today. All the time in the world, blameless surface, and she’s well set.

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60th over: England 173-2 (Knight 56, Sciver 13) Milestone out of the way, and and Knight immediately pulls out the reverse sweep. Fun. Hits it well enough into a big gap behind point, gets two runs. Then a single. Sciver tries another booming sweep shot and again clatters it into Mandhana, the genuine roadblock in pads, keeping it to a single. The partnership is worth 34 now.

Half century! Knight 52 from 115 balls

59th over: England 168-2 (Knight 52, Sciver 12) Airtime from Rana, and it gives Knight time to stretch forward and drive out through cover, very much controlled. Diving save on the rope out there and Knight is back for three. Sciver follows up with a hard pull shot that goes into the pitch, into Mandhana’s pad at short leg, then bobbles up to the wicketkeeper. Lucky for the batter it went to ground first.

58th over: England 165-2 (Knight 49, Sciver 12) Almost leaning forward at the bowler, eyes fixed, Sciver is intent. Uses her wrists to whip across the line to deep square leg. Nice flight from Deepti but Knight gets down to sweep, waiting for the ball to come on. Deep backward square keeps the scoring to one. Lots of flight again to Sciver, who only leans forward to defend.

57th over: England 163-2 (Knight 48, Sciver 11) Double off-spin, then. Rana on at the other end. You do wonder whether India should have gone for different varieties of spinner. I’m sorry to tell John Starbuck though that Shafali is out of short leg, someone has spotted her technique. Smriti Mandhana is now in the hot spot. Knight blocks most of the over, tries a swivel-pull to close but finds the field.

Fans in the surrounding apartments watch the action.
Fans in the surrounding apartments watch the action. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

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56th over: England 163-2 (Knight 48, Sciver 11) Deepti Sharma with her off breaks will get to continue after tea. Gives up a single to Knight off the pads. Sciver taps the bat, backlift high, a waspish swish forward, then back up, then down through the ball. All that for a forward defensive. Such a magnetic player, Sciver.

John Starbuck emails in. “It’s encouraging that Shafali has been placed at short leg, since it’s traditional that the youngest (or newest) member of the side gets to go there.” Test cricket is indeed all about tradition. And all about subverting it, it must be said.

Tea - England 162 for 2

A couple of sessions of hard slog for India’s bowlers, chipping away for long enough to pick up two wickets. There will be plenty more work to come, one suspects.

55th over: England 162-2 (Knight 47, Sciver 11) Vastrakar will take us up to the interval, and the England pair seem pretty comfortable by now, collecting three singles to different corners of the field. They look pretty contended as they walk into the pavilion together.

54th over: England 159-2 (Knight 45, Sciver 10) Deepti Sharma to have a bowl before tea, and there could have been a run out here. Poonam Raut fumbles at deep third, Knight calls for a second run, and Sciver is very slow. A good throw to the bowler’s end would have finished her off, but it’s wide.

“Excited to be reading from Chicago!” writes Jonathan Horowitz. We’re excited to be hearing from you. Say hello to Abe Frohman, the Sausage King.

“I know one of the big things that everyone is talking about is the lack of women’s Tests. Is Shafali’s poor form at short leg part of that? Is there anything else you’ve seen in this match so far that’s subtle but seems based on a lack of specific long-form experience?”

Well, in her defence Shafali is 17 years old, and hasn’t got that part of her game sorted. She’s been a bit of a liability in the field in short-form cricket too, wherever she’s placed. My understanding is that Poonam would have been at short leg but has a sore back, so they threw someone else in there, and Shafali would never have fielded there before. No call for it in short-form cricket.

As for other things, I suppose the dropped slip catch might be part of that. Not many slips in T20s either. Mind you, the experience and practice doesn’t stop men’s Test teams dropping lots of slip catches.

53rd over: England 156-2 (Knight 42, Sciver 10) Knight hops into the pull party now, with Pandey’s ball staying low from a fairly short length, only reaching about knee-roll height, but the surface is slow enough for Knight to play her shot low, getting a bit of a top edge but away around the corner into the gap for four.

52nd over: England 151-2 (Knight 37, Sciver 10) Jhulan Goswami strides in, quite the sight with her kabuki make-up in the form of sunscreen, but Sciver is the one ready to play the part. Sees the ball a touch short, up around waist height, and this time pummels the pull shot to the rope. Goswami goes a bit wider but doesn’t correct her length, and Sciver cuts this time through cover point! Two in a row.

51st over: England 143-2 (Knight 37, Sciver 2) Rana errs twice in her over and England profit by a single each time. Too straight and Knight works through square leg, too short and Sciver is able to pull, lustily, but there’s a boundary rider in the deep in front of square.

50th over: England 141-2 (Knight 36, Sciver 1) Goswami back on with the fall of the wicket, and she sets up a steady line outside off stump to see whether Sciver will do anything daft. Sciver politely declines.

49th over: England 141-2 (Knight 36, Sciver 1) So the wicket falls from the first ball. Looking at the replays, it’s a miracle that Shafali was able to take that catch. Technique at bat-pad needs some work. She’s standing almost completely upright as the bat meets ball, and her hands are cupped but are up near her chin. Like she’s expecting to catch a full-blooded pull shot rather than an inside edge. From that position her weight is back on her heels, and she had to lunge forward and low to get under that ball, right down at grass level. Has to stay down with the ball when catching there. Keeping an eye on it through the over, she’s doing the same thing to subsequent balls. Surely someone in the dressing room has to spot that? Or nearby on the field?

Sciver gets off the mark with a gentle cut shot.

WICKET! Beaumont c Shafali b Rana 66, England 140-2

This time Shafali comes good! The exact same situation as in Rana’s previous over. Beaumont down the wicket again, not to the pitch again. Too much bounce takes the splice of the bat. Shafali has moved, or been moved, a tiny bit squarer at short leg. The inside edge from pad dies in front of her, lobbing short, but she’s awake to it, diving forward, landing on her stomach, and just getting fingertips of one hand under the ball before it lands. Excellent catch, and quality bowling from Rana to twice do Beaumont in flight.

India’s Sneh Rana celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Tamsin Beaumont.
India’s Sneh Rana celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Tamsin Beaumont. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

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48th over: England 140-1 (Knight 36, Beaumont 66) Vastrakar carries on with that full length, everything at the stumps. Keeps a modicum of jeopardy in the game, but you wonder whether it’s too predictable for Knight. Camped on the front foot, the England captain doesn’t miss out when Vastrakar slips up with a full toss, placed through the covers for four.

47th over: England 136-1 (Knight 32, Beaumont 66) Rana nearly sneaks an off-break through onto Beaumont’s pad, burrowing in but taking the inside edge. Floats her next ball more and lands it wider, keeping some variety going. Advances as in the last over Beaumont, and nearly caught at short leg! She was done by dip, not to the length of that ball at all. It takes an inside edge and Shafali Verma under the lid just doesn’t move. Might have got to that with a dive as it lobbed square of her position, but she wasn’t alive to it.

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46th over: England 134-1 (Knight 31, Beaumont 65) Very consistent over from Vastrakar, making Knight play at every ball, hitting everything to the off side. No run.

45th over: England 134-1 (Knight 31, Beaumont 65) Sneh Rana with the ball now, the off-spinner replacing one of the seamers. She has a beatific approach to the crease, Rana, walking in with hands clasped against her chest in supplicatory fashion. She might be praying for help, too, as Beaumont skips down the pitch and slots her through midwicket for four. This after Knight took a single off her pads.

44th over: England 129-1 (Knight 30, Beaumont 61) Pooja Vastrakar joins in for seam from both ends, and she’s concentrating on a full length at the stumps. A couple of scrambled-seam deliveries in there, just making Beaumont play at each ball. Which she does, circumspectly, no run from the over.

43rd over: England 129-1 (Knight 30, Beaumont 61) Thanks Tanya. Shikha Pandey has the ball after drinks, and lands it nicely back of a length and bang on the off-stump line. “Arrey, shabash!” is the call from the keeper. Fuller with the second ball, then wider with the third and it’s edge over gully! Knight plays a big botom-handed cover drive, Harmanpreet gets elevation but can’t get fingertips to the ball. Pandey follows up by attacking the pads, drawing another very bottom-handed shot, shovelled to midwicket.

42nd over: England 125-1 (Knight 26, Beaumont 61) Knight, with her wobbly backlift, brings up the fifty partnership with a very late cut through backward point. She and Beaumont pluck another three from Rana, and that’s DRINKS! Thanks for your emails, I’ll leave you in the supremely capable hands of Geoff Lemon. Bye!

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41st over: England 117-1 (Knight 20, Beaumont 59) Knight is surprised by some bounce from Pandey and fends the ball down off the back foot. A maiden, good, sharp, stuff.

40th over: England 117-1 (Knight 20, Beaumont 59) England, unbothered, pick off a single.

39th over: England 116-1 (Knight 19, Beaumont 59) Pandey is accurate, Beaumont edges, but just short of slip. Then, off the last ball, a glorious cover-drive. On the radio, they’re discussing that all the batters in the England side are right-handed but India have not played anyone to turn the ball away, no place for leggie Yadav.

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38th over: England 112-1 (Knight 19, Beaumont 55) And Goswami gets a rest, slurping a drink down on the boundary. The 38 year old is replaced with a 27 year old, Rana, whose approach to the crease is a three step walk before a quick shuffle. A maiden.

Dear India,
As much as we love seeing Jhulan Goswami bowling in whites, we'd like to remind you that this is only Day 1 of a 4-day Test. #ENGvIND

— Ananya Upendran (@a_upendran11) June 16, 2021

37th over: England 112-1 (Knight 19, Beaumont 55) Pandey, short stepped approach, is back. A fair gathering watch from the flats surrounding the ground, an Indian flag on show. Beaumont picks off a couple with a sharp clip behind square.

36th over: England 110-1 (Knight 19, Beaumont 53) Bhatia temporarily removes her cap to reveal a fantastic scarlet bandana Goswani again, sending them down about 65mph, she polishes the ball on her upper thigh and sets off. Just one from an immaculate over.

35th over: England 109-1 (Knight 19, Beaumont 52) The Indian fielding is suddenly sprightly and you sense a little frustration sitting with England, but no sooner do I type that than Knight gets low on her front knee and sweeps Sharma beautifully in front of square for four.

34th over: England 104-1 (Knight 15, Beaumont 51) We see Goswami’s approach in slow motion, the slow bend at the top of the run, a respectful bow and...oooh that’s nice from Knight who, with minimum effort, guides the ball past backward point to the boundary.

33rd over: England 98-1 (Knight 9, Beaumont 51) Sharma nearly breaks through Beaumont’s defences, who edges onto the top of her boot. Nice over, a maiden, with a smart bit of fielding at point cutting off easy runs. Better from the Indians.

32nd over: England 98-1 (Knight 9, Beaumont 51) Beaumont and Knight are watchful, this Goswami knows what she’s doing.

31st over: England 97-1 (Knight 9, Beaumont 50) Beaumont creeps towards fifty, with a single off Sharma. Knight sweeps to hand her back the strike, before she sweeps in turn, and raises her bat! Her second in Test cricket, off 99 balls. She and Knight exchange a firm handshake.

The rest of the Indian squad are sitting having a very good laugh on chairs situated around the boundary.

30th over: England 94-1 (Knight 8, Beaumont 48) Goswami, high elbowed run, pounds in. Beaumont tries to cut but the ball skiddles low through to Bhatia. Not happy news for the seamers. Beaumont can’t pierce the field until the last ball when she tips Goswami into the covers . Goswami has already bowled 11 overs.

29th over: England 90-1 (Knight 8, Beaumont 47) Sharma again, after that promising over just before lunch. A looping full first ball almost gets through Beaumont’s defences. Beaumont tries to paddle sweep her second but it doesn’t look comfortable. Another good over, three from it.

Updated

Afternoon session

28th over: England 90-1 (Knight 8, Beaumont 44) The first ball after lunch from Goswami is a cracker, drawing Knight into a shot as it skittles past her outside edge. Again Knight drives and the ball moves slowly past mid-off but the fielders are sleepy and England take two. A squarer drive, better timed, for two more. Raj and Goswami chew the fat.

The players resume after lunch, India from their huddle, the batters from their chairs. Goswani is down on her haunches, strecthing those long legs. Sky blue, sketches of cloud: play!

Well as the morning went, seems there may have been some slightly odd placing of the stand...

everyone stands to watch the replay of the wicket off the screen that is hidden from us pic.twitter.com/FgKkf233bv

— Abi Slade (@abi_slade) June 16, 2021

An intriguing first session, with England on top thanks to judicious choice of strokeplay, tucking in to the bad balls, watchful of the good. A super little innings by Wingfield-Hill and fabulous by Beaumont, who, in a passing aside as she walked in for lunch, said the pitch was nice to bat on. Time to grab a sandwich, back shortly!

LUNCH

27th over: England 86-1 (Knight 4, Beaumont 44) Aha! And we see Deepti Sharma for the first time, resplendent in her sunglasses.. Bhatia is helmeted and up to the stumps. Beaumont is watchful, striding forward to dull the spin, ignoring the temptation of looping offbreaks. Oooof! The fifth ball spins and slides past the gap between Beaumont’s bat and pad and Bhatia too. A promising first over and that is LUNCH!

England’s Tamsin Beaumont and Heather Knight run between the wickets.
England’s Tamsin Beaumont and Heather Knight run between the wickets. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

Updated

26th over: England 84-1 (Knight 4, Beaumont 44) Goswami bowls the penultimate over before lunch, her suncream paint still largely intact, a spring still in her looping step. Just a single from the over.

Updated

25th over: England 83-1 (Knight 4, Beaumont 43) Heather Knight, off the mark with a one-kneed Jessica Rabbit of a cover-drive. Delicious.

24th over: England 79-1 (Knight 0, Beaumont 43) Beaumont making the most of a loose ball, as England have done all morning, pulls Goswami dismissively to the boundary. Goswami, anguished, oh so anguished, pegs her down for the remaining four balls of the over. Beaumont is batting a shuffle step out of her crease.

Updated

23rd over: England 75-1 (Knight 0, Beaumont 39) The pup gets up from her resting place behind the sofa, and stretches, just in time to see Beaumont, glorious high backlift slicing down onto a Vastrakar half volley, past mid-off for four. Gorgeous shot. Interesting from Ebony R-B on commentary, who says that Beaumont, who was always small after suffering from lots of food allergies when younger, developed her high backlift almost as armour against her size.

Updated

22nd over: England 70-1 (Knight 0, Beaumont 34) Knight gets her eye in and watchfully plays out four balls of a Rana over.

21st over: England 69-1 (Knight 0, Beaumont 33) A wicket maiden for Vastrakar. A sweet little cameo for Winfield-Hill, but she couldn’t make the most of her escape after being dropped on three. India neeeded that wicket with 20 minutes left till lunch.

WICKET! Winfield-Hill c Bhatia b Vastrakar 35 (England 69-1)

A super diving catch by Bhatia ends a fabulous little knock by Winfield-Hill, having a fish outside off stump, though she looked as if she would go on to better things. A first Test wicket for Vastrakar.

India’s Pooja Vastrakar celebrates with teammate after taking the wicket of England’s Lauren Winfield-Hill.
India’s Pooja Vastrakar celebrates with teammate after taking the wicket of England’s Lauren Winfield-Hill. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

Updated

20th over: England 69-0 (Winfield-Hill 35, Beaumont 33) No real danger from Rana’s over.

I don’t want to compare men’s and women’s cricket, a wholly pointless exercise but, just out of interest, can anyone remember the last time England male openers hit two sixes (with power to add) in the first morning of a Test?

19th over: England 64-0 (Winfield-Hill 35, Beaumont 29) Vastrakar’s turn to see if she can stem what is turning into rather a flow. The answer is no - as Winfield Hill whips out another pull, with that sensational follow-through. SIX! Two before lunch on the first day! Champagne , a bucks fizz please. She’s so elegant looking, but hits with ferocity.

Some great stats - though all are warped by how infrequently England, or any women’s side, play Test cricket.

Fifty partnehsip for Beaumont & WInfield-Hill.

The last time England women batted 1st in a Test and made a fifty opening stand, was against Australia at Brisbane in 2003.

The las time they did so in a home Test, was against Australia at Guildford in 1998.#ENGvIND

— hypocaust (@_hypocaust) June 16, 2021

18th over: England 57-0 (Winfield-Hill 29, Beaumont 28) Easy-pickings for Beaumont who sends Rana down to deep-fine leg and, almost, the cover boundary. A great start this by England, who are sticking two fingers to the pitch and showing pleasing intent.

17th over: England 52-0 (Winfield-Hill 29, Beaumont 23) Pandy again, Winfield-Hill drives through backward point where the fielder flops like a sack of potatoes and watches the ball sail to the boundary. And - wow - what a way to bring the fifty up! Winfield-Hill , on tip-toes, pulls, follow-through over her shoulder and down to her right shoulder blade, for SIX over midwicket.

16th over: England 42-0 (Winfield-Hill 19, Beaumont 23) Winfield Hill grins, her immaculately white teeth gleaming through the bars of the helmet. After a couple of singles from the first two balls of the over, Winfield-Hill tries, and fails, to pass short cover with a drive and a cut.

Smylers is back, “Yay, great news about the highlights! Thank you to Raf — I’d checked both the BBC’s cricket website and the Radio Times, and failed to find mention of them. It looks like they will be on iPlayer afterwards, which is probably easier than remembering their varying live-broadcast times.” Good point!

15th over: England 39-0 (Winfield-Hill 21, Beaumont 18) Pandey is back, Beaumont not quite on top, mistiming a cut, fluffing a drive. From the small but perfectly contained crowd comes a shout of, “India, India.”


And all this excitement will die out two days later, when the women's game will once again be overshadowed by the WTC. 😭

So nice to see the genuine excitement for the game here.

— Sarah Waris (@swaris16) June 16, 2021

True, unfortunately, but this game feels different to me. A different buzz, more people interested, more names known, more chat, more debate, more critique.

14th over: England 39-0 (Winfield-Hill 21, Beaumont 18) And we have spin for the first time in the match, with the clock hand just notching up the first hour. Sneh Rana, black pony tail hanging down her back, long sleeves buttoned at the wrist, fizzes the ball from hand to hand. She floats up her off-breaks, and the second nearly squeezes through the gap between Beaumont’s bat and pad. A nice opener. And that is DRINKS!

13th over: England 39-0 (Winfield-Hill 21, Beaumont 18) Anything Lauren can do... Beaumont spots that Goswami has dropped short, and spins on her toes and swings her round for a lip-smacking four. Then two overthrows as a wild ping and some half-cock wicketkeeping sees England run through for a couple more.


Lovely day for Test cricket @tjaldred. The women, again, seem to have a rough deal here, but it's great there is a Test and so I'm celebrating that. It's also worth noting the Beeb sport website has clips too so the coverage there is at least equal to the men. As it should be.

— Guy Hornsby (@GuyHornsby) June 16, 2021

12th over: England 31-0 (Winfield-Hill 18, Beaumont 13) Vastrakar, black hair cut closer to her head, scuttles in, tries a short one but Winfield sees it, loves it, pulls with a skip in her step, to the square boundary. Winfield-Hill and Beaumont starting to see the ball well here.

11th over: England 27-0 (Winfield-Hill 14, Beaumont 13) Beaumont launches into a drive but Mithali Raj at mid-off pounces, her large, white-brimmed sunhat obscuring her face. Goswami gives her a friendly pat of appreciation, well done fellow old timer.

10th over: England 25-0 (Winfield-Hill 13, Beaumont 12) A high-class biscotti of a shot from Winfield-Hill as she leans into Vastrakar and sends the ball tumbling through the covers and across the sun-baked outfield for four and a dark, strong espresso.

9th over: England 21-0 (Winfield-Hill 9, Beaumont 12) Just one off Goswami’s over.

Smylers writes: “Hi, Tanya. Thanks for the coverage. I’m looking forward to seeing the highlights on the telly later. What’s that? Today at the Test has no upcoming broadcasts? So when last month the BBC announced they “will show highlights of Tests”, they actually meant “highlights of Tests, except for the one featuring women”? Bah.”

Good news! I’ve checked with Raf Nicholson who says that there are highlights, but on the red button/601 service. Wed 8pm, Thurs 6.55pm, Fri 745pm, Sat 7pm.

8th over: England 20-0 (Winfield-Hill 8, Beaumont 12) The first bowling change of the morning brings an eventful over. Pooja Vastrakar, who bowls at a similar pace to Goswami, scampers in. Winfield-Hill gets a (lucky) thick edge which flies through the slips and then does well to get her bat down on a hooping inswinging yorker.

7th over: England 14-0 (Winfield-Hill 3, Beaumont 11) DROP! Winfield-Hill is drawn into a drive by an excellent Goswami delivery, the ball falls happily into the hands of Smriti Mandhana at first slip, but she can’t hold on. Goswami brings her hands to her head in anguish. That was , um, unfortunate.

In answer to Ruth’s email. The whole thing seems so strange, I can’t believe there wasn’t an element of cock-up somewhere along the line as those in charge of women’s cricket at the ECB would have wanted a new pitch. It is so OBVIOUS that a new pitch was necessary and what the players deserved. But whatever the excuse, there was definitely a communication breakdown between the ECB and Bristol - we wait to see who made the final decision.

6th over: England 14-0 (Winfield-Hill 3, Beaumont 9) A yummy shot from Beaumont off Paney as, weight beautifully balanced, she sends a shortish, lethargic ball through the leg-side for four. A disgruntled Pandey then beats Beaumont’s bat and wants an review. But Raj shakes her long ponytail - and she’s right .

5th over: England 8-0 (Winfield-Hill 3, Beaumont 5) Goswami, legs pointing skyward, arms picking stars, reels through another tight over at about 68, 69 mph.

An email from a cross Ruth Purdue

“I am very very angry at the ECB about this pitch. I can’t speak for the players who took a admirable tone when asked about it.

It comes to the point now at how much the ECB care about equality. They can get the men to wear their little t-shirts but when it comes to action, they fail, again.

How many times are they going to just talk and not act?

Good luck to all the players on this pitch and I hope it is a fantastic match and lasts till the last day.”

4th over: England 7-0 (Winfield-Hill 3, Beaumont 4) A vocal appeal from Pandey as the balls wings into Beaumont’s pad as she leans forward. There is DRS in this game, but Raj doesn’t fancy a review. Ah, that’s more like it, as Beaumont eyes up a lo0se one from Pandey and drives it languidly, squarishly, for three.

3rd over: England 4-0 (Winfield-Hill 3, Beaumont 1) Winfield-Hill leans onto her back foot and forces Goswami through cover and they scamper through for a couple. Goswami’s revenge is one that squares Winfield up a little with a touch of away swing. Lots of chat from the Indian fielders.

England get some more runs on the board.
England get some more runs on the board. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

Updated

2nd over: England 1-0 (Winfield-Hill 1, Beaumont 0) Pandey, a shorter, stockier figure, white head band wrapped low on her brow takes the new ball from the other end. Winfield-Hill is drawn into a drive which just passes the skin of the ball as it crosses the crease.

Swaminathan Natarajan writes in to say that in India the coverage is on Sony Ten. Thanks Swaminathan!

Updated

1st over: England 1-0 (Winfield-Hill 1, Beaumont 0) Jhulan Goswami, the great warrior, has the ball, the bottom half of her face pasted in suncream. She’s in her 20th year in international cricket, and each of her giant strides as she approaches the crease seems to cover a decade. She’s on point from the start.

An amazing stat from TMS: there have been 140 women’s Tests in history, England have played in 96 of them. Forty wickets have fallen in only six.

Updated

Ajwad Shamsi asks: “Please tell me where we can watch the live match.”

Hi Ajwad, it is being shown on Sky in the UK, with live commentary on BBC radio/internet. I presume it is being shown in India but I’m afraid I don’ t know where. Perhaps an OBOer can help?

The players are out! England are wearing the same black t-shirts promoting diversity over the top of their kit that England men have been lining up in. The two teams stand in a long straight horizontal line across the pitch, the sky forget-me-not blue behind.

Rain is sitting miserably in the forecast unfortunately tomorrow, so both sides need to play with a soupcon of urgency. Time to make a quick coffee before play starts in 15 minutes.

The XIs:

England: Lauren Winfield-Hill, Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight (c), Nat Sciver, Amy Jones (wk), Sophia Dunkley, Georgia Elwiss, Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclesstone, Kate Cross.

India: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Sikha Pandey.

England win the toss and will bat

“There has been a lot of talk about the pitch, but it looks ok and we’re going to try and make the most of it.” Mithali Raj says she would have batted too.

Updated

An email! Thank you Em Jackson.

“I’ll watch basically all and any sport, so whilst it’s a shame about the pitch, as a generalist, will it make all that much difference apart from, one assumes, take spin earlier from being roughed up? Comments gratefully received.

“Mind you, that being said, it’s not at all respectful if the players were told “You’ll have a new wicket to play on”.

“I have to say though, yet again, I’d love one of the flats at the Ashley Down Road end of the Brightside.”

The beef with the pitch is that a used one could turn early, but more likely it will slow down and flatten out, thus being more likely to produce the dull cricket which women’s Tests have been criticised for in the past (while being played on used pitches.) Men’s Tests would never (very rarely?) be played on a used pitch.

Sophia Dunkley has just been given her Test cap, becoming the first black woman to play Test cricket for England. Congratulations! Awesome stuff.

d
Sophia Dunkley: first black woman to play a Test for England. Photograph: Ashley Allen - ECB/ECB/Getty Images

Updated

While Heather Knight is lauded for her diplomacy in her 100th game as England captain, Joe Root, who is equally good at fronting up and talking to the press, is under pressure. Here, Tim de Lisle calls for his head.

Updated

Luckily, there are some spies at the ground... it looks like Indian teenage superstar Shafali Verma is going to win her first Test cap, plus England’s Emily Arlott, a 23-year-old Worcestershire seamer, who took a quadruple-wicket maiden for Central Sparks in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Hove last week.

Bristol looking absolutely gorgeous in the sunshine.

If body language & warm ups are anything to go by, Mady Villiers, Kate Cross and Tash Farrant are NOT playing today. That suggests a debut for Emily Arlott is on the cards! #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/ug9F25aGt8

— Raf Nicholson (@RafNicholson) June 16, 2021

Some pre-match reading. This is a fascinating piece on how the players feel about red ball versus white ball cricket, while below is Raf’s preview and more information on pitch-gate.

MATCH DAY! 🦁 🦁 🦁

🏏 @lv_cricket Test
🆚 @BCCIWomen
⏰ 11am (UK time)
📍 @Gloscricket
📺 @SkyCricket
📻 @bbctms
#️⃣ ENGvIND
📲 https://t.co/AJk5wAq0tt

Predictions? pic.twitter.com/H1W1DgnqN5

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 16, 2021

Preamble

Hello! It’s a beautiful June morning and England and India’s women’s sides are out stretching and hitting and chewing the fat. What a four days we’ve got in store - a chance for all 22 players to test themselves in the long-form game.

Elite cricket then but, whoops!, on a second-hand pitch - which is a niche product to try and flog in the push for equality. It was revealed yesterday that the pitch had already been played on for 39 overs in a T20 Blast game on Friday night. Where the cock-up originated, we don’t know, but there it is. Next time, do better.

Or as Heather Knight, whose services to diplomacy should be snapped up when she retires, said, “We can moan about it later - we’ve just got to play what’s in front of us, we can’t use it as a negative or an excuse or frustration.”

While the ICC have been pushing limited overs cricket for women, some of the players themselves have been pining for more red ball cricket, Katherine Brunt and Megan Schutt, for example. Test cricket for women has often been dismissed as slow and boring, and playing on a second hand pitch at Bristol, which may grow sluggish and flatten as the four days progress, isn’t going to help that perception or prove anything.

The ECB sounded contrite: “We know that England Women deserve a fresh wicket and we are sorry that we were unable to provide that in this instance, With the Test only being added to the calendar in mid-April, coupled with the lack of available first class grounds, we knew a fresh TV pitch was going to be a challenge.”

But, hang the pitch for a minute, the game is going to be a novelty for everyone involved. India haven’t played Test cricket for seven years, with only eight of their squad having red ball experience. England have squeezed in more Tests, but only against Australia, and they haven’t won in that time. The last time these two sides played each other, India won by six wickets.

Contributors

Tanya Aldred (earlier) and Geoff Lemon (later)

The GuardianTramp

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