For the first time, India will play England in a multi-format series. The two sides will play one Test, three ODIs, and as many T20Is. The team winning the Test will get 4 points and a draw will attract 2 points to each side. A win in an ODI or T20I will secure 2 points. The team that scores the maximum points will win the series, just like the women’s Ashes, that is played between Australia and England.
India: Mithali Raj (C), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (VC), Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Indrani Roy (wk), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav.
England: Heather Knight (C), Emily Arlott, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones (wk), Nat Sciver (VC), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill
|Uncapped Test players||10||4|
|Last Test played (year)||2014||2019|
|Total Tests played||36||95|
|Head to head (wins)||2||1|
|Head to head (loss)||1||2|
|Head to head (draws)||10||10|
Players to watch out for
The India captain is one of the most experienced players in the side, along with Jhulan Goswami. The duo has played 10 Tests for India, including six Tests against England. Raj has scored 663 runs in 16 innings at an average of 51 and has one century and four half-centuries to her name. She enjoys batting against England as she has mustered 624 runs against them, with the best score of 213 not out.
The right-arm seamer is another experienced Test player in the Indian squad. She has played 10 Tests so far, including six against England. Her contributions with both bat and ball have been incredible. She has picked up 40 wickets in 18 innings at an average of 16.62. She has accounted for one 10-wicket haul and three five-wicket hauls, all against England. With the bat, she has scored 283 runs in 13 innings, at an average of 25.72, including a couple of half-centuries, both against England. She enjoys batting against the aforementioned opposition, as she has scored 239 runs at an average of 39.83.
A lot will depend on the England captain for the team to do well against a side that looks strong at the outset, though it has 10 uncapped Test players. Knight has represented England in seven Tests and has scored 386 runs at an average of 32.16, including one century and two half-centuries. Though she has not had a good record playing against India, she will certainly look to redeem herself. In the two innings that she has played against the Women in Blue, she has just scored one run.
She is the spearhead of England’s bowling attack. With an experience of 12 Tests, she is the senior-most player in the team. In 21 innings, she has picked up 41 wickets at an average of 22.51, including two five-wicket hauls. Against India, she has played two matches and has accounted for three wickets. She was not a part of the squad in 2014 when the two teams played their last Test together.
Probable playing XI
India: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Ekta Bisht
England: Lauren Winfield-Hill, Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight (c), Georgia Elwiss, Natalie Sciver (vc), Mady Villiers, Amy Jones (wk), Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross
This will be the first Test that will be played in Bristol. It will be interesting to see how the pitch and conditions play. Both the captains will have nothing to look back up to going into the Test since the venue has never hosted the longest format of the game. Just like any other Test match, toss will be crucial.
Test results in women’s cricket
The first women’s Test was played in 1934 between Australia and England. Since then 140 Tests have been played, out of which only 51 have produced results. However, a positive sign is that the draw percentage has decreased from 68.18 (75 out of 110 matches) till 1999 to 46.67 (14 out of 30 matches) in the 2000s.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.