Twitter Reactions: Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma help India fightback after England dominate at Bristol

Twitter Reactions: Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma help India fightback after England dominate at Bristol

England skipper Heather Knight missed a century by just five runs as Indian spinners inflicted a collapse.

Heather Knight
Heather Knight. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Returning to Test cricket after a nearly-seven-year gap, Indians roared their way back towards the end of the first day against England, who dominated the proceedings for the majority part of the day. Situated in a position of complete control at 229/2, they suddenly found themselves six down in the midst of an impressive turnaround from the Indian spinners.

The two sides combined handed six maiden caps, with India giving out five of those, and while there was nothing less historic about the fixture, England’s debutant Sophia Dunkley made it more as she became the first black woman to make Test debut for the nation.

England skipper Heather Knight’s toss practice before the clash bore fruits as she called correctly and invited India to bowl on a pitch that had been used for a T20 Blast fixture. The hosts’ opening pair of Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Windfield-Hill looked cautious at the start against Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey, who both got the new ball to swing, but runs started to flow as the duo played the patience game to perfection.

Beaumont, Knight keep England strong

India came close to break the stand twice early in the innings, but Beaumont survived a loud shout for caught behind and Winfield-Hill was reprieved when Smriti Mandhana failed to grab her edge in the slips. The latter pressed the pedal after a crawly start, hitting a couple of sixes in quick time, however, debutant Pooja Vastrakar had her caught for 35 by keeper Taniya Bhatiya to end the 69-run opening stand.

Joining forces with a set Beaumont, skipper Heather Knight continued to pile on the misery for India after lunch, as the two operated in a no-rush mood despite a significant slump in the scoring with the bowlers tightening the screws. Beaumont notched up her half-century en route to the 71-run stand and it took a one-handed stunner from debutant Shafali Verma at short-leg to give India their second and fellow debutant off-spinner Sneh Rana her maiden Test wicket; also, the only strike of the session for India.

India stages a quick turnaround

India roared their way back in the final session of the day after Knight dominated alongside her deputy Nat Sciver for the third-wicket stand that lasted nearly 25 overs for 90 runs. With only 55 overs bowled until the two sessions, Mithali Raj tried to compensate as she employed spinners Rana and Deepti Sharma from both ends. Milking runs conveniently at the start, the duo seemingly took the game away from India, who looked enervated after being devoid of success.

Things, however, started to happen for the Indian spinners once Sharma pinned Sciver lbw for 42 as she missed a sweep and reviewed it to no success. Rana got into the action soon, trapping Amy Jones on the front cheaply before Sharma returned to dismiss skipper Knight only five runs short of a well-deserved century. When Rana had Georgia Elwiss caught in the slip by her accomplice Sharma, England had lost four for just 21, nearly waiving the entire advantage accumulated in the previous two sessions.

The tumbling was brought to a halt by Dunkley and Katherine Brunt as they negotiated the remaining overs for the day, but  thanks to the slow over rate, only 92 were bowled as opposed to the quota of 100, with England walking 269/6 at stumps.

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