5 things we learned from the women’s Test between England and India

Rain on day three dented hopes of a positive outcome at Bristol.

Sophia Dunkley, right, impressed for England
Sophia Dunkley, right, impressed for England

India Women’s tremendous ninth-wicket partnership scuppered England’s chances of winning the standalone Test match at the Bristol County Ground, with the game ending in a draw.

Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia’s 104-run stand secured the draw for the visitors and brought an end to England’s hopes of a first Test victory on home soil since 2005.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five things England have learned from the Test match.

What’s another day?

The game had ebbed and flowed throughout the four days but was impacted by an early conclusion on day three, with no play possible after the tea break, and the lack of a fifth day meant the game ended in a draw.

England have drawn their past three Tests and have not won a red-ball match since January 2014, with the previous two Ashes Test matches also ending in draws.

Home captain Heather Knight said after the match she would be open to the idea of a fifth day, which could have resulted in a thrilling finish – and it is something which should be considered.

Test debutant Dunkley makes the right impression

England v India – Women’s International Test – Day Two – Bristol County Ground
Sophia Dunkley made the right impression on debut (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Sophia Dunkley became the first black woman to play Test cricket for England when she was called up for her maiden red-ball game, after being awarded her first central contract earlier in June.

The 22-year-old showed no signs of inexperience as she brought up a half-century on the morning of the second day, reaching a composed 74 not out when Knight declared in the afternoon session.

Verma’s a fast learner

England v India – Women’s International Test – Day Two – Bristol County Ground
Shafali Verma, 17, caught the eye (Zac Goodwin/PA)

At just 17 years old, Shafali Verma is already the world number one T20 batter, and she showed her quality against England.

In the first innings her 96 came from 153 balls and was similarly aggressive after the follow-on was enforced, reaching 63 second time around.

The teenager has also hit more sixes in the format than any other female cricketer, something she followed up with three in the red-ball game at Bristol.

England’s positive intentions

England v India – Women’s International Test – Day Four – Bristol County Ground
Anya Shrubsole played her part (Zac Goodwin/PA)

There had been fears before the game that it would echo the Ashes draw at Taunton two years previously, especially as India had not played a red-ball match since 2014 – but the game was far from negative.

On the first morning, Lauren Winfield-Hill struck two sixes and Anya Shrubsole helped set up the declaration with an entertaining 47 from 33 deliveries.

India had impressive partnerships of their own, including a first innings first-wicket stand of 167 and the rain on the third afternoon denied everyone an exciting finish to the  contest.

Pitch battle?

England v India – Women’s International Test – Day Three – Bristol County Ground
The pitch had seen action before the women’s Test (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The ECB apologised after Knight revealed the day before the game was due to start that England’s only Test match of the summer would be played on a used pitch, as it had been used for a Gloucestershire T20 match a week before.

During the game itself, there were early ominous signs with a hint of turn on a hot and sunny day one, but otherwise, it proved to be a good wicket.

Knight said afterwards there was little for the seamers, with a low slow bounce not helping England’s selection of four right-arm fast bowlers, who struggled to find movement from the red Kookaburra, but the pitch overall held up.

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