England will begin as overwhelming favourites to beat India in the women’s Test which starts tomorrow. Almost everything is against the tourists. They have not played a Test match for eight years, only three of their players have appeared in a Test before, their opponents are now full-time professionals, the pitch at Wormsley is likely to be a green top.
It is inexperience and rawness that is likely to tell over four days. Although women’s cricket is discernibly on the up, it is not Test matches that are taking it there. Twenty20 is the most popular format. But there is at least an element of lip service paid to the playing of Tests.
Charlotte Edwards, who will lead England for the ninth time in a Test and the 188th time overall, said: “We have always liked to think we have prepared as professionally as we can. We have now been able to have the time. To have that time week on week has been key.”
In their most recent Test, India beat England by eight wickets at Taunton in 2006. Jhulan Goswami, one of the three Indians with Test experience, took 10 wickets in the match. Mithali Raj, their captain, also played.
England may give a debut to the medium-pacer Sonia Odedra, and Edwards must decide whether to open the batting with Heather Knight or bolster the middle order.
England women v India women: Tour schedule
Wednesday-Saturday Test match (Wormsley)
Weather A mix of sunshine and light showers. Max temp: 19C.
21 August First One-Day International (Scarborough)
23 August Second ODI (Scarborough)
25 August Third ODI (Lord’s)