Indian spinners helped visitors rally at Bristol on the opening day of the only Test match between India women and England women. England batted first and at one stage were firmly on course for dominance. Thanks to Tammy Beaumont ( 66 off 144) and Heather Knight (95 off 175). Both shared a stand of 71 runs and the Indian shoulders dropped. Poor ground fielding only added to the misery. At Tea, England were 162/2. But from here on, Indian spinners came back into the game. Sneh Rana, who was playing her first international match in five years, managed to take three wickets and was well supported by fellow spinner Deepti Sharma (2/50). Debutante Pooja Vastrakar had accounted for opener Winfeild-Hill. Meanwhile the frontline seamers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey went wicketless.
The Indian pace duo of veteran Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey made a promising start, doing just enough to trouble the English batswoman on more than one occasion.
In the seventh over, Goswami induced an edge from Winfield-Hill as the batter went for an extravagant drive but Smriti Mandhana dropped the chance in the slip cordon despite getting both hands on the ball.
In the next over, Winfield got lucky again. Debutant Pooja Vastrakar induced a thick edge from the batter but the ball flew between second slip and gully to the boundary.
After a slow and cautious start, England picked up the pace. Winfield was the more positive of the two batters as she lofted Pandey over the mid-wicket to hit the first six of the innings and in the process brought up England’s fifty in the 17th over.
An over later, Winfield hit another maximum, this time over backward square leg off Vastrakar.
Vastrakar eventually had the last laugh as she had Winfield caught by wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, giving India the breakthrough.
As many as five players made Test debut for India, including Verma, Deepti Sharma, Vastrakar, Rana and Bhatia, while for England Sophia Dunkley was the lone player to earn a Test cap.
Indian women team is playing its first Test match in seven years. It last played the traditional format of the game in November 2014 against South Africa in Mysuru.
(With PTI Inputs)