Sophie Ecclestone’s touch of class gives England the advantage over India

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Sophie Ecclestone’s touch of class gives England the advantage over India


On day three in Bristol, Sophie Ecclestone proved why she is considered the No. 1 bowler in the world, taking three for 27 in a spell of 10 that included four young girls and helped take out India for 231, 165 points behind on the first innings – allowing Heather Knight to apply the follow-up.

“I haven’t played a test match in a while so it was just a matter of getting back to it,” Ecclestone said at the end. “It’s a strange situation that I’m not used to. It helped me get that first wicket this morning with my first ball, made me a little more relaxed.

“After a crazy hour last night, it was just a matter of resuming the battle and making sure we remained one over India. It was about being patient and playing my best ball over and over again.

Although 17-year-old Shafali Verma (55-year-old not eliminated) fought for a second half-century in the match, becoming the first Indian woman to score two-fifty years on her Test debut, India finished the match. day at 83 to one, always 82 late. A frustrating afternoon interspersed with rain breaks, and an evening session entirely wiped out by the rain, prevented England from making further inroads.

“We were really positive going back to the pitch,” said Ecclestone. “We had to stay calm and patient when we were out – we knew they were going to play the long game when they came back to bat. We have to keep fighting tomorrow.

The morning session could hardly have gone better for England if Heather Knight had written the script in advance. Taking 187 for five, India lost two wickets in the blink of an eye without adding to its score overnight. Ecclestone picked up where she left off on Thursday night, drifting the ball towards Harmanpreet Kaur to trap her front leg, after England appealed the no-exit decision to the pitch via the DRS.

Shafali Verma made 96 in India’s opening innings and then was not knocked out at 55 in their second as they called. Photograph: Zac Goodwin / PA

Twelve bullets later, Taniya Bhatia became Ecclestone’s second casualty of the day, almost identically fired. Soon after, newbie Sneh Rana felt the difficult end of the cricket test, edging out whoever turned to Amy Jones behind the stumps.

You wait hours for new balls, then two arrive at once: with cloudy and perfect swing conditions, Knight took the first one as soon as it was available, 21 overs in the morning session. His two experienced workhorses, Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, only needed it eight times to complete the job: Shrubsole cleaned up Jhulan Goswami with his trademark inswinger, after a jaffa from Brunt that swung through them. airs and moved away from the field. off Pooja Vastrakar.

In total, five Indian wickets fell for 44 races during the session, while tourists went from 167 lossless at 5:15 p.m. on day two to 231 all at 12:30 p.m. on day three – their worst collapse since their first round of testing. against West Indies in 1976. Only Deepti Sharma did not succumb, left stranded on the 29th.

And so on the second new ball. Tracking may have gone out of fashion in men’s cricket in recent years, but there seemed little doubt in Knight’s mind as to the right course of action: Brunt ran to the English balcony to pick out a brand new Kookaburra. It first appeared that she had chosen well: at the stroke of lunch, Smriti Mandhana rolled in the hands of the second slip.


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India fought well: as the players rushed for tea at the start of the rain, Sharma (18 steps away) – promoted to order after her impeccable defense in the opening innings – had set up a 50-year partnership with Verma.

She may have stayed on one ball for 45 balls, which is in stark contrast to her normally effortless approach to racking up runs, but with better weather forecasts on Saturday, India’s ability to avoid defeat may well depend heavily on it. of its ability to continue to occupy the fold.

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