England lost four middle-order wickets for 21 runs as their grip loosened
Stumps England Women 269 for 6 (Knight 95, Beaumont 66, Rana 3-77, Sharma 2-50, Vastrakar 1-43) vs India Women
That England threatened to go well past 300 on day one was down to Knight’s 90-run stand with Sciver, building on two prior fifty partnerships in the innings, making this the first instance of them scoring 50-plus for the first three wickets in the same innings since 1960. Knight who had brought up her fifty, her third in four Test innings, with an exquisite drive, carted nine fours in her 175-ball stay.
Knight’s departure was bookended by wicketkeeper Amy Jones unsuccessfully reviewing yet another lbw, this time off Rana, who then enticed Georgia Elwiss into an expansive drive with an away-drifting delivery. Sharma, diving low at first slip, held onto the thick outside edge to stall England’s momentum.
Beaumont was the second wicket to fall, having reached her second Test fifty off 99 balls. Her six fours crowned an array of drives, sweeps, and behind-the-wickets strokes that often found India wanting in tactical nous when it came to field placements as well as in the variety among spinners.
After sending down just 27 in the first session, India bowled only 28 after lunch, despite having two spinners in operation. Goswami, the 38-year-old, did the bulk of the bowling among the seamers, while Rana sent down 29 of the day’s 92 overs.
Wickets were hard to come by in the first two sessions for India. After Beaumont’s dismissal, the closest they got to creating a genuine chance was when Knight, on 26, slashed at a wide Pandey delivery, only for the ball to fly over Harmanpreet Kaur’s fingertips at gully. That aside, Knight was perturbed little and, in Sciver’s company, steered the team past 200, breaking up the field at will. Both Pandey and Goswami remained wicketless while part-time offspinner Kaur lost out on Sciver’s wicket in her third over owing to a drop by Sharma.
Winfield-Hill’s two sixes were the first by an England batter in Tests since August 2006. The first one was off Pandey, one of three seamers in a six-bowler Indian attack: a short ball was lifted by Winfield-Hill from outside off, and with extended arms cleared deep midwicket. Then came another pick-up six, seemingly more effortless, decidedly more disdainful, in the 19th over off Vastrakar, sailing over deep backward square while her partner Beaumont followed its trajectory.
England’s hold on the morning session seemed well in place until Vastarakar gave India the breakthrough. Angling one back in, Vastrakar induced an outside edge off Winfield-Hill’s drive to the keeper, removing her for 35.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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