Knight hopes for five-day women’s Test cricket

“There has been some real skill shown, it has been exciting, there has been some aggressive cricket,” says Heather Knight, who hopes thrilling clash with India could lead charge for five-day women’s Tests; India teenager Shafali Verma “once in a generation talent,” says skipper Mithali Raj

Last Updated: 19/06/21 7:37pm

Highlights from day four as England Women and India Women drew the one-off Test in Bristol

Sky Sports 10:11
Highlights from day four as England Women and India Women drew the one-off Test in Bristol

Highlights from day four as England Women and India Women drew the one-off Test in Bristol

England captain Heather Knight believes the thrilling drawn clash against India was a “good advert” for women’s Test cricket and hopes it could lead to five-day Tests.

Knight’s side reduced India to 199-7 and 240-8 on the fourth and final day in Bristol, before the tourists battled to a draw thanks to an unbroken century stand between Sheh Rana (80no) and Taniya Bhatia (44no).

The game was England’s first Test since the 2019 Ashes and India’s first since 2014.

Knight said: “I think it has been brilliant. What an advert it has been. It was a shame it probably ended with a fizzle but it has been great. It’s a good advert to play more and even maybe have a five-day Test match.

England skipper Heather Knight praised her side's efforts, despite being unable to force a win over India in Bristol

Sky Sports 3:16
England skipper Heather Knight praised her side’s efforts, despite being unable to force a win over India in Bristol

England skipper Heather Knight praised her side’s efforts, despite being unable to force a win over India in Bristol

“There has been some real skill shown, it has been exciting, there has been some aggressive cricket.

“We talked a lot leading into the week about how we want to go about things and we executed it brilliantly.

“Being positive and taking the game forward when we could but also being tight and going with the ebbs and flows of the game.”

England seemed on course for victory when India, who were following on, lost their eighth wicket shortly before tea on Saturday when they had a lead of just 75 runs.

Rana and Bhatia, though, thwarted England with their 104-run partnership for the ninth wicket as the two sides took two points each in the first game of the multi-format series.

Katherine Brunt produces a spectacular catch at long-on to send India's Shafali Verma walking on 63.

Sky Sports 1:06
Katherine Brunt produces a spectacular catch at long-on to send India’s Shafali Verma walking on 63.

Katherine Brunt produces a spectacular catch at long-on to send India’s Shafali Verma walking on 63.

England skipper Knight added: “I think we can take the positives massively from this match. We tried to force a result – the pitch was a little bit dead and made it hard work – and the girls were amazing.

“[Spinner] Sophie Ecclestone bowled 60-odd overs in the match. I love captaining her and she is a real weapon with the ball.

“I am really chuffed for her but gutted she couldn’t get that first five-for [after taking four-wicket hauls in both India innings].

“For the seamers to run in and hit the deck when it wasn’t giving them a huge amount was a massive effort. I am really proud of them.”

England debutant Sophia Dunkley scored 74 in her sole innings, while India’s 17-year-old opener Shafali Verma marked her first Test with innings of 96 and 63 as she became the fourth woman in Test history to hit two 50-plus scores on debut.

Verma made history by becoming the first Indian woman to make twin fifties on her Test debut, and the youngest player overall

Sky Sports 1:06
Verma made history by becoming the first Indian woman to make twin fifties on her Test debut, and the youngest player overall

Verma made history by becoming the first Indian woman to make twin fifties on her Test debut, and the youngest player overall

Knight said: “We have got some real young talent. Sophia Dunkley performing the way she did on debut was outstanding and the future is definitely bright. Credit also to how India played. I thought Shafali was outstanding.”

India captain, Mithali Raj, was effusive in her praise of Verma and also saluted her side’s grit after salvaging a draw in Bristol.

Raj said: “I think Verma is a player who comes across once in a generation. I am just happy to have her on our side. There are many exciting years to come and we will get to see a lot of good innings from her in the future.

“This draw reflected on the character of the young girls. When they were pushed into a corner they rose to and played the situation accordingly.

“That shows a lot of character and I am sure we are going to build on this.”

Watch the first one-day international between England Women and India Women, from Bristol, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Sunday, June 27.

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