Indian women return to Test cricket after nearly seven years
A favorable record in England and a positive mindset despite inadequate preparation time will spur the Indian women's cricket team when they take on England in their first Test engagement in nearly seven years in Bristol from Wednesday. After multiple quarantines in India and UK, the Mithali Raj-led squad got little over a week to prepare for its first red-ball game since November 2014.
'Only time will tell how prepared they are'
"The players are in good shape and have been training well, but there is no substitute to match practice," a BCCI source said. "Since it is a four-day game, only time will tell if they are ready to stand in the field for longer periods or bowl multiple long spells. Playing a practice match teaches to deal with match pressure," he added.
Here is how the team is expected to play out
There is a good chance that 17-year-old batting sensation Shafali Verma will open the game alongside Mandhana. The experienced trio of Mithali, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Punam Raut will be expected to do the job in the middle order in what will be challenging conditions. It will be interesting to see if veteran pacers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey will bowl long spells.
Kookaburra might play to the advantage of Indian batters
There could be some respite in store for the batters with England choosing Kookaburra over Dukes ball, which does more for the game as the home team builds up to the Ashes Test against Australia later in the year. The spinners, who had a forgettable time at home in the limited-overs series against South Africa, would be itching to make amends.
Names of players comprising the two squads
India: Smriti Mandhana, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Indrani Roy, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav. England: Heather Knight (Captain), Emily Arlott, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver (Vice-captain), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill.