Heather Knight wins toss, opts to bat; Shafali Verma makes debut- The New Indian Express


BRISTOL: England Women’s cricket team captain Heather Knight won the toss and opted to bat against India in the one-off Test in the County Ground in Bristol on Wednesday. A deserved debut in red-ball cricket for young and aggressive Shafali Verma from the Indian side while Sophia Dunkley makes her Test debut for England.

At the time of toss, Knight said, “There’s been a lot of talk about the pitch. It looks okay. Even covering of grass. We have to go out there and put a score on the board. Dunks comes in for her first game. She massively deserves this chance, she’s been outstanding in domestic cricket. [100th game] Really proud. Those five years have gone very fast. But today’s not about me, it’s about the team.”

Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj said: “We would have batted. The first session will be crucial — if we can get early breakthroughs we can put pressure on them. The groundstaff have rolled the pitch hard so it seems like a fresh wicket. Shafali is making her debut. We have three seamers and two spinners. [Where will Shafali bat?] We’ll have to see… [Break since last Test] It is challenging to pick a team but as seniors we share our experiences. It comes down to how we react on the ground. We’ve had a few sessions in the whites.”

The last time India women’s team played a Test match was in November 2014 where the Mithali Raj-led squad defeated South Africa by an innings and 34 runs. While there is visibly no momentum, Team India would still look to start on a positive note. In the seven years, England has played three Tests against Australia.

England Women (Playing XI): Lauren Winfield Hill, Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight(c), Natalie Sciver, Amy Ellen Jones(w), Sophia Dunkley, Georgia Elwiss, Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross

India Women (Playing XI): Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Mithali Raj(c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia(w), Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Shikha Pandey

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