350 gives us chance to control the game lot better: Heather Knight
Heather Knight drives one through the off side. © Getty Images
Heather Knight was frustrated but satisfied with her team’s performance on day one of the one-off Test against India. By the end of the play, England were six for 269 at Bristol County Ground. Knight herself missed on a well-deserved century by just five runs while Tammy Beaumont chipped in with 66 runs. For India, debutants shone as they took all six wickets between them with off-spinner Sneh Rana grabbing three important wickets.
“It would have been lovely (to score a century)," said Knight, who was captaining her 100th match for England across formats.
"(I am) just really frustrated, to be honest. I felt really comfortable out there. Felt like I was going really well and worn the Indian bowlers down a quiet a lot and was starting to cashing a little bit on hard work and been able to score more freely.”
Before falling to debutant Deepti Sharma, Knight and vice-captain Natalie Sciver shared a partnership of 90 runs for the third wicket. England were comfortable placed at two for 230 before a mini collapse saw them lose four wickets for just 21.
“The partnership me and Natalie had, we felt we could take the game forward a lot faster. Runs were coming easy. Obviously, we lost a few wickets so I was frustrated at the time I got out as well for the team. We probably could have comfortably got 300 if that had been the case. but that’s Test cricket, isn’t it?”
Though England could stitch over 50-run partnerships for the first three wickets, Knight admitted that the pitch was on the slower side. A day before the Test she had also expressed displeasure at being given a used track for this surface, after which the ECB tendered an apology.
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"(The pitch) was a little bit on the slow side. Not a huge amount of carry," said Knight. "But I thought it played okay. The thing with Bristol is you get reasonably good value with square going all the way across the ground. There was a little bit of turn and it might start to turn a little bit more as the game progresses."
Knight said that England would be comfortable with any score above 350, with debutante Sophia Dunkley in the middle on 12 and Katherine Brunt keeping her company on seven. The pair managed to keep the Indian bowlers at bay for over ten overs before Stumps on the first day.
“Obviously, really important morning tomorrow for us to build on that hopefully take the game forward if can get some partnerships together. If we can push that score up to 350 gives us chance to control the game lot better.”
She was also excited about the performance of Lauren Winfield-Hill who came back in the English set-up after missing the 2019 Ashes Test.
“Loz has been in outstanding form throughout the last couple of months in domestic stuff and she’s looked brilliant in the nets. I thought she did well today,” she concluded.