This article titled “India hold on to draw women’s Test match against England – as it happened” was written by Will Unwin (now) and Simon Burnton (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 19th June 2021 17.29 UTC
Player of the match.
Rana and Bhatia did superbly well to ensure India came out of the match with a draw. They were certainly in deep trouble when they came together but they put on more than 100 for the ninth wicket.
121st over: India 344-8 (Rana 80, Bhatia 44) Rana takes a single first ball. That is not speeding up the century process. Knight seems to be telling the India bench to call it a day as Bhatia is gifted a single to keep the strike but it is a no ball, so we go again. Rana decides to speed the matter up and hits a four. Knight asks to call it a day once more at the end of the over and we are done.
120th over: India 337-8 (Rana 75, Bhatia 43) England put everyone on the boundary. India are going to drag this out until Rana gets her ton, aren’t they? Bhatia gets four down fine leg and another to square leg. This partnership is now worth 97.
119th over: India 327-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 34) India have earned this draw, which will be the inevitable result. For now, however, we are going through the motions.
118th over: India 326-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 33) Bhatia edges Cross but it whacks Jones into the knee, causing her to yelp in pain. I think it missed her padding and hit bone. You could hear the impact.
117th over: India 325-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 32) Elwiss is bowling for the first time in the match, which might be a sign this Test is going nowhere. Line and length from Elwiss all the way. The only runs of the over come from leg byes down to fine leg.
116th over: India 323-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 32) Cross is certainly keeping it tight here. Bhatia edges her down to third man for a couple. We are now into the final hour.
115th over: India 321-8 (Rana 74, Bhatia 30) When do they consider shaking hands on this? Knight has decided to change the angle by going round the wicket to bring some life back into the attack. It almost works as Rana prods at one and it beats the edge. The next delivery is a dreadful full toss but Rana can only hit it for a single.
114th over: India 319-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 29) Cross is very much hitting back of a length. She tries to tempt Bhatia with a fuller one but a textbook forward defence is the response. Cross completes a second consecutive maiden.
113th over: India 319-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 29) Bhatia hits one from Knight down to the cover boundary for a walked single. India are rightly in little rush to do much here.
112th over: India 318-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 28) Cross is brought on to replace Ecclestone. She beats Rana first up, going past her outside edge. Cross hits the pads but it is going down leg and the umpire has zero interest in the appeal. A maiden for Cross on her return to the attack.
111th over: India 318-8 (Rana 73, Bhatia 28) Rana knocks one through cover for an easy single, which was the only time either bothered with any backlift in the over. India lead by 153.
110th over: India 317-8 (Rana 72, Bhatia 28) Farrant makes a cracking stop at backward point, bringing much joy to her teammates. The next ball from Ecclestone is, however, cracked past Farrant for four. Ecclestone drops one very short and is pulled to midwicket for another boundary. I do not think we will see much more from Ecclestone today.
While it is drinks … I should point out I am not Simon Burnton, he has had to depart.
109th over: India 309-8 (Rana 72, Bhatia 20) Knight deceives Rana and the wicketkeeper, conceding four byes in the process. Rana blocks out to drinks.
108th over: India 305-8 (Rana 72, Bhatia 20) The 300 comes up thanks to a fine sweep from Rana. She follows it up with a vicious cut to the point boundary.
107th over: India 296-8 (Rana 63, Bhatia 20) Knight tries to yorks Rana but he she keeps it out. The next ball flies off the outside edge but very wide of slip and trickles down to the third man boundary but it is just held up. There are cries for a catch from England after Rana clips one out to deep square leg but it bounces a couple of times on its way to Dunkley.
India lead by 131.
106th over: India 293-8 (Rana 60, Bhatia 20) Rana fails to beat the field with a couple of shots but then cuts for a single to the cover boundary. Bhatia chops the next ball down but it bounces up and over her stumps.
105th over: India 292-8 (Rana 59, Bhatia 20) Knight brings herself on. Bhatia takes a quick single but gets herself back on strike to whack a cover drive to the boundary
104th over: India 286-8 (Rana 58, Bhatia 15) Ecclestone knows that all Bhatia wants to do is cut, so offers her no width to do so. Bhatia gets a run off the final ball to midwicket.
103rd over: India 285-8 (Rana 58, Bhatia 14) Rana cuts Sciver behind point and to the boundary on the first ball. She is looking incredibly confident at the crease. The rest of the over passes without another run scored thanks to Sciver keeping it tight.
Some high praise.
102nd over: India 281-8 (Rana 54, Bhatia 14) Fifty for Smeh Rana! It’s taken her 91 balls and every one has been precious. It has been a pretty classy knock, and absolutely invaluable for her team.
101st over: India 274-8 (Rana 49, Bhatia 12) Three singles off Sciver’s over, and a sense of stasis hangs over the game. Can England wrestle their way back into the ascendancy?
100th over: India 271-8 (Rana 47, Bhatia 11) Ecclestone is back after a change of ends, and Bhatia chips the last in the air but just short of the fielder at short leg, who dives to her left but to no avail.
India extend their lead beyond 100
99th over: India 267-8 (Rana 45, Bhatia 9) Sciver replaces Ecclestone and Bhatia now hits a lovely shot through the covers, and India have been excellent since tea, every boundary a dagger to the heart of England’s victory hopes. They’re also taking long enough between deliveries for the umpires to warn them about timewasting. India lead by 102.
98th over: India 262-8 (Rana 45, Bhatia 4) Four more for Rana, who gets it through the covers again for four.
97th over: India 257-8 (Rana 41, Bhatia 4) Lovely shot from Rana here, through the covers for four.
96th over: India 253-8 (Rana 36, Bhatia 4) Just a single. Sneh Rana, on her Test debut and batting very impressively, seems to be enjoying this.
95th over: India 252-8 (Rana 35, Bhatia 4) A maiden from Sophie Ecclestone.
94th over: India 252-8 (Rana 35, Bhatia 4) Runs! Rana edges, but it’s always safe and runs away for four. Sophia Dunckley chases gamely, and when she realises she won’t catch it dives anyway, for reasons unknown, not coming within two yards of the ball at any point. Rana then hits the last more cleanly for four more. These are big runs for India.
The players are back out. There’s a match to decide. Katherine Brunt has the ball.
England have kept plugging away, and been admirably composed when they might have grown desperate and a bit ragged, helped by India giftwrapping a few wickets. Going into the last session, with 40 overs remaining – less, presumably, a couple for change of innings – we could end up with a super-fun finale. My advice would be, don’t go anywhere.
TEA: India 243-8, lead by 78
93rd over: India 242-8 (Rana 27, Bhatia 2) England bring in the close fielders, but when Bhatia edges one in the air it goes between the two slips. The over and indeed the session ends with an lbw appeal – England don’t have any reviews left, and that was heading well down leg anyway.
92nd over: India 242-8 (Rana 27, Bhatia 2) England’s seamers haven’t cleaned up the tail with the new ball, so after this Brunt over Sophie Ecclestone is going to get a chance to complete a five-fer.
91st over: India 241-8 (Rana 27, Bhatia 1) There was rain forecast for the late afternoon, but latest projections are that it won’t arrive until after 7pm, so this game should be played to a conclusion. India lead by 76 with 43 overs remaining.
WICKEET! Pandey c Jones b Sciver 18 (India 240-8)
Breakthrough! The partnership is broken after adding 41 inconvenient runs, Pandey tickling the ball on its way down the leg side, and Amy Jones takes a good low catch.
90th over: India 240-7 (Rana 26, Pandey 17) Rana leaves Brunt’s first delivery, which misses off stump by no distance at all, and the batter immediately retakes her guard. You don’t leave those.
89th over: India 238-7 (Rana 26, Pandey 17) Sciver ends with an inswinging yorker that Rana gets the inside edge of the toe of her bat to, the ball squirting away towards fine leg.
88th over: India 236-7 (Rana 25, Pandey 16) Runs! Pandey hits Shrubsole’s first delivery through the covers and her third past point, both times for four. Then two snorters to end the over, one that flies just past the edge and the other just past off stump.
87th over: India 227-7 (Rana 25, Pandey 7) Sciver comes back. Her first 10 overs of the innings went for a combined total of one run, and this one goes for five thanks to a last-ball slash by Rana which sent the ball flying wide of the slips and away for four.
86th over: India 222-7 (Rana 21, Pandey 6) Shrubsole is getting quite a lot of inswing here, but the batters are handling the new ball very nicely and precious time keeps passing.
NOT OUT! Not a whisper on Ultra Edge, and England’s last review has gone.
ENGLAND REVIEW! They think Rana was caught behind. Even Anya Shrubsole didn’t see an edge, and the umpire certainly didn’t, but Amy Jones was convinced, so England roll the dice.
85th over: India 222-7 (Rana 21, Pandey 6) Another maiden from Brunt, who still looks a bit bothered by that ankle.
84th over: India 222-7 (Rana 21, Pandey 6) Rana flicks Shrubsole away through midwicket for four, nice shot. And then a few cracking deliveries, a couple of big inswingers followed by one that moves away off the seam and just beats Rana’s edge. There are 49 overs remaining, and India lead by 57.
83rd over: India 218-7 (Rana 17, Pandey 6) Katherine Brunt doesn’t look very happy, and at the end of her over she kneels down to give her left ankle a bit of a rub, potentially a futile-attempt-at-boundary-prevention injury. She still bowls a maiden, mind.
82nd over: India 218-7 (Rana 17, Pandey 6) Shrubsole bowls, and Rana hits through the covers, all timing. Brunt chases it all the way, throws herself at it to try to keep it from the rope, and fails. Then she hits just wide of the fielder at short leg for a couple. India’s lead is now 53.
81st over: India 212-7 (Rana 11, Pandey 6) England turn to Brunt, and after a couple of deliveries with the old ball she calls for the new nugget and two balls later produces a ripper, which somehow misses both Rana’s bat and off stump by millimetres.
80th over: India 211-7 (Rana 10, Pandey 6) Ecclestone’s 29th over of the innings, and there’s a drop at silly point! It was, as they often are, an outlandishly difficult chance, coming at pace at ankle height. Now for some drinks, presumably with a new ball and a new challenge to come.
79th over: India 211-7 (Rana 10, Pandey 6) Another nice cut, this time from Rana for a couple.
78th over: India 209-7 (Rana 8, Pandey 6) Ecclestone’s first ball is dinked just wide of the fielder at silly mid-off, who was busy thinking she had to get out of the way and couldn’t react in time to the idea of trying to get closer to the ball rather than trying to get further away. Pandey celebrates that let-off (of sorts) with a nice cut for four.
77th over: India 205-7 (Rana 8, Pandey 2) A run off the first ball, an lbw appeal off the last.
NOT OUT! The impact was well outside the line, so not out it remains.
REVIEW! England have a couple of reviews up their sleeve so they’re going to throw one at this appeal against Rana. The question is whether the ball was doing too much, and going wide of leg stump.
76th over: India 204-7 (Rana 8, Pandey 1) Rana chops the ball into the ground, and it seems to be heading towards the stumps only for some reason to decide to turn left after bouncing. She celebrates this lifeline by hitting the last for four.
75th over: India 200-7 (Rana 4, Pandey 1) A maiden from Heather Knight.
74th over: India 200-7 (Rana 4, Pandey 1) I can only think that Kaur was trying to the guilt being felt by Pooja Vastrakar, and give captain and coach someone else to shout at. In that context, her dismissal was really quite noble. India lead by 35.
WICKET! Kaur c Jones b Ecclestone 8 (India 199-7)!
Kaur wants to score big and fast, but gets a thick top-edge and sends the ball steepling into the Bristol sky. When it comes down, Amy Jones is underneath it.
73rd over: India 199-6 (Kaur 8, Rana 4) Knight starts her over with a full toss, which is duly despatched by Kaur.
72nd over: India 194-6 (Kaur 3, Rana 4) The last ball of Ecclestone’s over was off-stump bound until, inches from its target, Rana got her bat to it and cut it away for four.
71st over: India 189-6 (Kaur 1, Rana 0) That was an absolutely shocking shot from Vastrakar, worse in the context of the match and the situation India are in. Pure trash.
WICKET! Vastrakar b Knight 12 (India 189-6)
Another one! An absolutely wild shot from Vastrakar, who loses shape and control, gets none of the ball with a massive heave, and loses her off stump!
70th over: India 188-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 12) Better from Ecclestone, with no easy hits and consequently no runs conceded.
69th over: India 188-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 12) Another Sciver maiden. This is getting silly now.
68th over: India 188-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 12) Four runs! Ecclestone drops one short and Vastrakar has plenty of time to lean back, size the ball up, and send it through midwicket. And then four more! This one goes wide of mid-on, who dives despairingly but can’t reach it. And another! This one is even sweeter, and mid-on doesn’t bother diving. In the first innings Vastrakar came in at No10, scored three fours and was out for 12.
67th over: India 176-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 0) Another Sciver maiden.
66rd over: India 176-5 (Kaur 1, Vastrakar 0) Ecclestone continues, and Kaur gets off the mark with a single to midwicket.
65rd over: India 175-5 (Kaur 0, Vastrakar 0) So Sciver has the wicket she deserves. She’s an absolute metronome at the moment, not a wayward delivery. It’s another maiden, obviously. Her figures now: 8-7-1-1
WICKET! Raut c Ecclestone b Sciver 39 (India 175-5)
Raut pulls the ball straight to the fielder at square leg, and India have lost three wickets for four runs, lead by 10, have two new batsmen at the crease and are creaking!
64th over: India 175-4 (Raut 39, Kaur 0) And another maiden, from Ecclestone. There has been just one scoring shot in 6.1 overs since lunch. It did go for four, though.
63rd over: India 175-4 (Raut 39, Kaur 0) Yet another Sciver maiden. Figures of 7-6-1-0 now, building the pressure. “Just curious,” writes Da Beej. “Since 2000, what proportion of women’s test matches have finished in draws? I’m scared this one is headed that way too.” According to Cricinfo there have been 28 draws, 16 wins/defeats and no ties since the start of 2000.
62nd over: India 175-4 (Raut 39, Kaur 0) Raj edges into her pad, and the ball flies low just wide of the fielder at silly point. It’s only a temporary reprieve.
WICKET! Raj b Ecclestone 4 (India 175-4)
BIG WICKET! For the second time in the match Mithali Raj is out cheaply to Ecclestone! This time the ball zips off the surface and just clips the very outermost of off stump!
61st over: India 175-3 (Raut 39, Raj 4) Sciver’s sixth over, her fifth maiden, and she’s leaked just a single run so far.
60th over: India 175-3 (Raut 39, Raj 4) Ecclestone drops one a bit short, and Raj gets off the mark with a back-foot cover drive for four.
59th over: India 171-3 (Raut 39, Raj 0) Nat Sciver’s fifth over of the innings goes the way of three of the four previous ones, being as it was a maiden.
58th over: India 171-3 (Raut 39, Raj 0) Sophie Ecclestone completes her 18th over, without drama.
Right then. The players are on their way back out. Meanwhile, an update from Raf Nicholson. “Wicket Women did indeed exist,” she confirms. “It was produced by the Women’s Cricket Association and then the ECB when they took over the women’s game in 1998; unfortunately the ECB discontinued it in 2003. There are some copies online here.” Do tell Self Esteem/Rebecca Lucy Taylor if you get the chance, she might be quite excited.
I’m off for a breather. I leave you with this really quite excellent track from Self Esteem as performed in last night’s Later with Jools Holland on ye BBC.
And here’s an interview with her from a couple of years back which explains why she’s worth a plug on this liveblog. Specifically, this bit:
Look at those reactions – that’s my cricketing! Did you know that about me? I got into South Yorkshire when I was younger – that was going to be my career. I was a spin bowler but they changed the ball from a wind ball to a real ball when I was 15 so I gave it up. I haven’t been down the nets for a while. So there used to be a magazine called Wicket Women. I can’t find any evidence of this online, but I used to subscribe to it monthly, I swear. It was definitely around in the ’90s.
LUNCH: India 171-3 (lead by six)
57.5 overs: India 171-3 (Raut 39) Sharma heaves to midwicket for four, but then tries to do it again when the ball is a little too full for that kind of treatment, and pays for it. Lunch is promptly taken, with India holding a narrow lead and England hoping to knock over a few more in short order to bring the win back into play.
WICKET! Sharma b Ecclestone 54 (India 171-3)
Just before lunch, a breakthrough! Sharma swings across the line and edges into her stumps!
57th over: India 166-2 (Sharma 50, Raut 38) Another Sciver maiden. She’s going at 0.25 an over. In other cricket news, here’s the England men’s squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka, which starts in 10 days’ time. Sussex’s George Garton gets his first call-up:
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) Captain
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Sam Billings (Kent)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Sam Curran (Surrey)
Tom Curran (Surrey)
Liam Dawson (Hampshire)
George Garton (Sussex)
Liam Livingstone (Lancashire)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Joe Root (Yorkshire)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
David Willey (Yorkshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)
India lead by one
56th over: India 166-2 (Sharma 50, Raut 38) An excellent back-foot cover-drive from Raut brings her four runs, and takes India level with England. A leg bye next ball puts them in the lead.
55th over: India 159-2 (Sharma 50, Raut 32) Sky boot the women’s Test off their Main Event channel, meaning that I can no longer get it in HD, which on my screen makes an extraordinary amount of difference. So I watch a strangely diffuse Deepti Sharma score the single she needs to complete her half-century, off 157 balls with seven fours. Sciver has now conceded a run. Just the one, mind.
54th over: India 158-2 (Sharma 49, Raut 32) Run out chance! Raut hits to mid-on, and gets back just before the ball, which doesn’t hit the stumps anyway.
53rd over: India 156-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 31) Three maidens and two runs in the last four overs, Sciver’s figures reading 2-2-0-0.
52nd over: India 156-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 31) Sophie Ecclestone is back. All sorts of close fielders. No sort of chance.
51st over: India 154-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 29) And another maiden, Nat Sciver’s first over of the innings.
50th over: India 154-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 29) Every time you think India might have decided to accelerate in the hope of provoking England into a nasty little run chase, they bat out a maiden.
49th over: India 154-2 (Sharma 48, Raut 29) Another Sharma sweep, no edge this time, goes for four, and she sends the next through cover but it’s stopped on the rope.
48th over: India 148-2 (Sharma 42, Raut 29) Cross bowls, and Raut heaves over mid-on for four. India trail by 17.
47th over: India 144-2 (Sharma 42, Raut 25) India are motoring pretty handily here. Sharma top-edges a sweep from the last ball of Knight’s over, but it bounces away safely for four.
46th over: India 140-2 (Sharma 38, Raut 25) A Kate Cross maiden.
45th over: India 140-2 (Sharma 38, Raut 25) Sharma leans back and heaves Knight’s final delivery, a bit too wide, through the covers for four.
44th over: India 127-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 19) What a remarkable stat this is: Shafali Verma, who made her debut in this match and is 17 years old, already holds the all-time record for most sixes hit in women’s Test cricket with three. There is some uncertainty, because we don’t know all the numbers, but still. Here’s Cricinfo’s list of every woman to have hit a Test six.
43rd over: India 131-2 (Sharma 34, Raut 24) Heather Knight bowls for the first time this innings. Her first-innings figures of 11-8-7-2 were pretty extraordinary, but this time she starts with a full toss, which Raut tucks away for four.
42nd over: India 127-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 19) Kate Cross replaces Ecclestone and bowls a maiden, after which the players will have some drinks. Just the one wicket for England this morning and not a whole lot of other chances, while their lead has shrunk to 38, and they need to accelerate things.
41st over: India 127-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 19) A nice over from Brunt, but without reward. Then Raut flicks the last through midwicket for a couple, and the bowler returns to the outfield with her cap covering her face, apparently rather disappointed.
NOT OUT! There was a fairly hefty inside edge off Raut’s bat, so she bats on.
WICKET! But Raut reviews! Is she out lbw here? She took it upstairs pretty quickly, so maybe there’s some bat on it…
40th over: India 125-2 (Sharma 33, Raut 17) Ecclestone slides one down the leg side, and Sharma gets a tiny tickle on it to add four to her total.
39th over: India 121-2 (Sharma 29, Raut 17) Raut ducks under the last ball of the over, which doesn’t bounce anything like as sharply as she expects and zips past her shoulder.
38th over: India 120-2 (Sharma 28, Raut 17) Ecclestone bowls to Raut. Two slips, a leg slip, short leg and silly point, a crowd of players around the bat. She inside-edges one and gets away with it, and then drives through the covers for four off the back foot, nice shot.
37th over: India 114-2 (Sharma 28, Raut 11) Brunt prepares to deliver her final ball of the over, but Sharma isn’t ready so she turns back, starts her run-up again, but Sharma still isn’t ready so she turns back again. “Oh my god!” she complains.
36th over: India 112-2 (Sharma 27, Raut 10) An Ecclestone maiden.
35th over: India 112-2 (Sharma 27, Raut 10) Three singles and three dots from Brunt’s over, and England’s lead is now 53.
34th over: India 109-2 (Sharma 26, Raut 8) Ecclestone motors through a maiden over.
33rd over: India 109-2 (Sharma 26, Raut 8) Katherine Brunt comes on. Good idea, I think, to give her the ball while she’s still buzzing from that catch. An interesting over, plump with opportunity: again Amy Jones, standing up, doesn’t catch the ball when there was a brief stumping opportunity, and there are a couple of edges, but no instant reward.
32nd over: India 107-2 (Sharma 26, Raut 6) Sharma doesn’t quite control a sweep, but the ball lands well short of the fielder. Raut, with a short leg and a silly point crowding the bat, hits just past one of them and through the covers for four and then, after that review, deals well with one that bounces wildly off the pitch. Encouraging unpredictability, that, for England and Sophie Ecclestone.
NOT OUT! The ball was missing leg stump by the slenderest of margins, so Raut survives and England lose one of their three reviews.
REVIEW! England reckon Raut might be lbw here, though the umpire disagrees. Upstairs they go.
31st over: India 101-2 (Sharma 25, Raut 1) A couple of singles take India into triple figures. They trail by 64.
30th over: India 99-2 (Sharma 24) Six! Verma heaves Ecclestone straight down the ground! Then she tries to repeat the trick off the last ball of the over, a bit of a rank full toss, and doesn’t.
WICKET! Verma c Brunt b Ecclestone 63 (India 99-2)
WHAT A CATCH THAT IS! Katherine Brunt sprints round from long-on to take a low, diving catch as Verma attempts to take on Ecclestone!
29th over: India 93-1 (Verma 57, Sharma 24) A brief appeal for lbw from Anya Shrubsole, but the ball clipped the edge of Sharma’s bat on its way into the pad. The Indian left-hander clobbers the next through the covers for four.
28th over: India 89-1 (Verma 57, Sharma 20) A bit of a wild swing from Verma, but the ball loops over cover and land safely.
27th over: India 86-1 (Verma 56, Sharma 19) Amy Jones, standing up to the stumps as Anya Shrubsole bowls, lets slip a stumping half-chance, failing to gather the ball with Sharma out of her crease. A single each, and I have been informed that commentary in the UK is on Radio 4 Long Wave (online here).
26th over: India 85-1 (Verma 55, Sharma 18) A couple of leg byes off Sophie Ecclestone’s over, and a couple of edges from Verma, albeit completely unthreatening ones, one into her pads and the other sending the ball rolling to mid-off.
25th over: India 83-1 (Verma 55, Sharma 18) A two-day maiden from Cross, Deepti Sharma in no hurry to start scoring.
The players are out and play is about to get under way with the second half of a rain-interrupted Kate Cross over.
“Do you know where I might listen to this on the radio?” wonders Tim Bartlett. “The BBC seems to have abandoned it in favour of the test championship – men’s – but it’s irksome that I’ve been listening to 3 days of women’s cricket and will miss the finale!” No need for that – it sounds like there will be BBC commentary somewhere. 5 Live Sports Extra is as you see men-focused, and I’m not sure where you can find it on the radio, but on an interweb browserbox you can find it here.
If one cricket liveblog isn’t enough for you, the World Test Championship final has just got under way in Southampton, and India are 5-0.
The ubiquitous Adam Collins is in Bristol on Sky broadcasting duties and sounds optimistic. It’s grey, but no rain is forecast until late afternoon, maybe 5pm or so.
The rain that fell on the third day of England’s only Test of the summer has really messed things up a bit. It started at lunch, then after a little under 14 more overs it fell again, then they played another six, and then they were off for the rest of the day, with no play possible in the final session. It made it hard for England’s bowlers to build up rhythm or momentum, and though they made an early breakthrough, dismissing Smriti Mandhana with the score on 29, at 83-1 at stumps and with rain forecast for the late afternoon, wickets will have to fall in a hurry if there is to be a positive result. So, here’s hoping!
Here’s yesterday’s match report from Raf Nicholson in Bristol:
On day three at Bristol, Sophie Ecclestone proved why she is considered the No 1 bowler in the world, taking three for 27 in a 10-over spell that included four maidens and helped bowl India out for 231, 165 runs behind on first innings – enabling Heather Knight to enforce the follow-on.
“I’ve not played a Test match for a while, so it was just about getting back into it,” Ecclestone said at the close. “It’s a weird situation that I’m not used to. It helped this morning getting that first wicket with my first ball, made me a bit more relaxed.
“After a mad hour last night, it was just about getting into the battle again and making sure we stayed one up on India. It was about being patient, and bowling my best ball over and over again.”
Though 17-year-old Shafali Verma (55 not out) battled her way to a second half-century in the match, becoming the first Indian woman to score two fifties on Test debut, India finished the day on 83 for one, still 82 in arrears. A frustrating afternoon interspersed with rain breaks, and an evening session entirely wiped out by rain, prevented England from making further inroads.
Much more here:
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