The first day of the women’s Test match between England and India saw 16 wickets fall with just 179 runs made. India’s captain, Mithali Raj, won the toss and decided to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch, for which she got great reward as England were reduced to 49 for 5 within 20 overs.
The England vice-captain, Heather Knight, was the first of seven England batsmen to be dismissed lbw, falling in the fourth over for one. There followed a procession of England wickets before lunch.
Although the conditions were helpful, offering some movement off the pitch and some swing, in truth, England’s dismal total of 92 all out in 41.2 overs was more down to poor technique than it was conditions. At least five of England’s lbw dismissals were due to the batsman planting her front foot down the line of the pitch and then playing across her front pad.
Credit must be given to the India bowlers, particularly Nagarajan Niranjana, who finished with 4 for 19 and bowled a good full length to exploit the swing. Only Sarah Taylor was able to play with any freedom, scoring 30 from 42 deliveries with a selection of pleasing on and off-drives.
India’s reply began well, openers Thirush Kamini and Smriti Mandhana looked fluent in the opening 15 overs. England’s seam bowlers – and they are playing without a spinner – bowled inconsistently with too many short, wide balls.
However, during a destructive spell led by the seam bowler Jenny Gunn India lost five wickets for 24 runs. This included the prize wicket of the vastly experienced Raj, who was trapped lbw by a delivery from Gunn that came back in on her. Gunn’s 4 for 13 from 12 overs salvaged the day for England. India ended the day five runs from parity with four wickets left.