“It would have been lovely,” was Heather Knight’s summation as she rued falling five runs shy of a century in her 100th match as England captain. But even still, there was much to love about the opening day of the Test at Bristol.
India’s first match in the format for seven years kicked off England Women’s home summer in glorious sunshine before a small but appreciative crowd and a live TV audience.
And it was Test cricket, with twists and turns that left the match poised intriguingly at the close with India having forced their way back into the contest after an excellent start by the home side’s top four.
“[I’m] just really frustrated to be honest,” Knight continued in the assessment of her innings, which included a 90-run partnership with Nat Sciver for the third wicket. “I felt really comfortable out there. I felt like I was going really well and had worn the Indian bowlers down quite a lot and was starting to cash in a little bit on our hard work and was starting to score a bit more freely.”
But from 230 for 2, England lost 4 for 21 to be 269 for 6 at the close, letting their grip on the game slip.
“[I’m] super frustrated,” Knight said. “The partnership that me and Nat had, we felt that we could take the game forward a lot faster because runs were coming a lot easier, and then we lost a few wickets so I was frustrated at the time I got out as well for the team.
“We probably would have comfortably got up to 300, but that’s Test cricket, isn’t it? It ebbed and flowed quite brilliantly throughout the day and the Indians pulled it back quite nicely at the end.”
As disappointed as she was, Knight led her side with distinction, just as she had done on the eve of the match when expressing her disappointment at being given a pitch used for a men’s T20 Blast match last Friday while vowing to get on with the job on whatever surface was provided.
As it turned out, the pitch didn’t play many tricks, but offered diminishing movement and carry as the day wore on with hints that it might turn more as the game progresses.
Summarized scores: Stumps England Women 269 for 6 (Knight 95, Beaumont 66, Rana 3-77, Sharma 2-50, Vastrakar 1-43) vs India Women