India Test was a brilliant advert for Test cricket: Heather Knight

India Test was a brilliant advert for Test cricket: Heather Knight

Heather Knight drives one through the off side. © Getty Images

The final day of the one-off Test between England and India had everything the great Test needs - wickets, runs, partnerships, grit, drama, excitement - an overall package of quality cricket. India started the fourth day, needing 82 runs to close out the deficit of England’s first innings.

It wasn't long before India experienced yet another collapse, but the lower-middle order stood up to the challenge and denied England their first victory against India on home soil. England captain Heather Knight commented on a topsy-turvy day saying, “Yeah. Of course, it was frustrating. The way we played. We were trying to move the game forward and trying to force the result. Rain on day three didn’t help us very much. Not getting all the overs also was not ideal as well.”

“But, we did everything we could. We failed and fair play to India they managed to hold on. We were not able to force things, take that final wicket, and set up a little bit exciting run chase.”

India lost the eighth wicket when they were leading by 75 runs. It looked like an interesting chase was on offer but debutants Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia did not let England run away with the game. Knight was full-on praise of her opponents. She said, “They played well. Frustrated us. They shut up the shop a little bit. We weren’t able to force that wicket, unfortunately. With a pitch being a little bit slow and didn’t have a huge amount of carry. We weren’t able to force it. They played well and sneaked that draw.”

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Sophie Ecclestone, who was the star bowler for England, tried her best to get her first fifer. She had bowled close to 60 overs on day three and four combines. When asked about her fitness, Knight said, “Soph is fine. She has got very simple repeatable action and is willing to bowl a lot of overs. She performed outstandingly and was just desperate to get her first fifer for England. Obviously fought in both innings. Really chuffed by the way she performed.”

Her deputy Natalie Sciver bowed some crucial overs in the second innings. At one stage, she had bowed ten overs with nine of them fetching no runs for India. She also managed to break a vital partnership between Rana and Shikha Pandey which lasted over 100 balls. Knight was proud of the way her deputy stood up to the challenge.



“What a warrior! She is brilliant. That spell she bowled on either side of tea was outstanding. She deserves a lot better. I think, she had nine maidens out of 10 overs at one point. She gave us that real control and we could attack a little bit more at the other end. And she managed to force that 8th wicket which we thought might open things up a little bit. She goes under the radar a little bit with her bowling. But, it’s something she has worked really hard on and has become a really impressive seamer for us. The way she led the girls out there as well and how she went about things was brilliant.”

Knight said that she would be open to the possibility of women’s test matches going to five days. “There has been a lot of draws in women’s Test cricket in previous games. Obviously, we lost some time due to weather, etc. throughout this match and were not able to force it. I will definitely be open to it. I think generally over rate is pretty good in women’s cricket. We didn’t quite get all the overs that we should have done in this match.”

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England and India will both play their next Test matches against Australia. India will start their first-ever day-night match on September 30. And England will fight for regaining the Ashes later in 2022. Knight believes this Test match albeit being a draw has been a great advert for more Test matches for women.

“Definitely, I think it’s a brilliant advert for test cricket. It’s almost a shame that today it fizzled out a little bit. It was set up to be very good and very exciting but I think it has been a brilliant advert. We had some great skills on the show. Some youngsters come in from both sides and played outstandingly. Shafali Verma, Sophie Ecclestone, and Sophia Dunkley, on debut. Really exciting to see that,” She concluded.

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