Bad news: we’ve gone to the Zone. On the other hand, Anya Shrubsole and Tammy Beaumont are in it, so.
Strange thing is, it was drizzling during a fair chunk of the morning session. I guess you can’t really compare without being there.
“Notwithstanding they’ve been completely on top since 167-0,” tweets @Mysteron_Voice. “England a tiny bit fortunate that Dunkley’s *foot off the gas* over didn’t ultimately cost them the chance to enforce the follow on.”
I don’t know, I guess it was a show of faith intended to give confidence. Given the guns England had waiting for a bowl, I’d probably have gone to one of them, but Dunkley will be better for it.
Rain stopped play
Ah, perhaps not. The dreaded rain stopped play chyron is now at the bottom of the screen. It doesn’t look heavy, so hopefully we’ll be back underway soon.
In the background of the lunchtime discussion, I can see covers over the strip. But with none over the outfield, I’m minded to assume precaution.
Lunchtime email: “So England’s bowlers are fresh enough to enforce the follow-on?” snarks Gary Naylor. “Amazing what losing overs every day can do.”
I fully expect Bruntsole to continue until they’re well into their 60s.
We’re still actionless in the World Test Championship final. But join Tim de Lisle for a chat.
And that is lunch. It’s been England’s morning, and they’ve got a great chance of forcing a win either later today or tomorrow. But also, when we return Shafali Verma will be batting and you’d be very silly to miss that. See you in 35.
WICKET! Mandhana c Sciver b Brunt 8 (India 29-1)
Mandhana chases a wide one moving away and edges to second slip! Following on, with just three balls left in the session, that is very bad behaviour.
4th over: India 29-0 (Mandhana 8, Verma 20) Ah man! After Mandhana takes one to mid off, Verma again stretches down the track to drive through cover for four! She bats like God, she really does – her timing is just an absolute joke – and all things being equal we’ve got in the region of two decades to enjoy her. But let’s just focus on today, because there she is glancing away four more to deep backward square! We’ll have one more over before lunch.
3rd over: India 20-0 (Mandhana 7, Verma 12) After three dots, Verma takes a step down the track and introduces full face to ball, that back leg again coming up in a flourish as she earns four through the covers. That is a glorious shot and perhaps it affects Brunt, who slings down a leg-side wide, then offers width … and again Verma goes after it, reaching out in front to drive four through cover point. Her timing in simply sensational, and Brunt can only gurn in response. She’ll be ticking.
2nd over: India 11-0 (Mandhana 7, Verma 4) Shrubsole takes the ball from other end, of course, and after three dots Mandhana clips her off the pads for two to midwicket. They’re the only runs from the over, and I wonder if the bowlers would have preferred to keep the globe they used to polish off India’s first innings.
“Nominative determinism clearly doesn’t apply to the women’s game – Bhatia didn’t last long at the crease and Sciver is anything but!” says Andrew Benton. “India’s batting collapse, and England are in the ascendancy! This whole test match is back to front. What is this alternative reality? Will it last?”
1st over: India 9-0 (Mandhana 5, Verma 4) I can’t believe there was much debate about enforcing the follow-on; the bowlers should be fresh, the weather is unreliable, and England will fancy themselves to get this done today.But Mandhana has other ideas, rocking back to time Brunt’s second ball away through cover for four; lovely shot. A single follows, which brings Verma onto strike; will she play the way she played yesterday, or will she look to bat time? Ask a silly question, get a definitive answer! Verma times a gorgeous glance off her pads for four! She barely touched that, but it careered away nevertheless! Nine off the over.
Credit to Deepti Sharma, whose 29 not out was a decent effort. It can’t’ve been easy batting against this attack in these conditions, but she guttsed it out well.
Sophie Ecclestone tells Adam Collins that she was getting drift today, and she thinks the seamers will love bowling in these windy, mizzley conditions. She’s also pleased that thy got the last two wickets, because last night they were aggravated at the 0s in their wickets columns.
England enforce the follow-on!
It’s raining a bit, but hopefully they’ll be straight back out.
WICKET! Goswami b Shrubsole 1 (India all out 231 and trail by 165)
This is another belter, swinging in, swinging quick and swinging late, cleaning up Goswami. Will England enforce the follow-on? Surely they will.
82nd over: India 231-9 (Sharma 29, Goswami 1) Shrubsole takes the meteorite from the other end…
81st over: India 231-9 (Sharma 29, Goswami 1) Heather Knight deserves credit for that delivery too, giving Brunt an over with the old pill to get warm and loose. They’ll both be desperate to get the final wicket before the follow-on is avoided, but not in this over – Goswami gets off the mark via inside-edge, then Deepti is beaten by one that yanks her forward then leaves her. “Yesssss Brunty!” comes the holler from the infield.
“England women may be on course for a handsome win in this Test,” says Tom Wein, “but here in the crowd, we’re facing a low total and tricky atmospheric conditions. Hunching down in pursuit of an unglamorous long sleeved draw.”
I hope you’ve got a decent coolbox to keep you warm.
WICKET! Vastrakar b Brunt 12 (India 230-9)
That isn’t just a jaffa, it’s a JAFFA! Brunt takes the new ball and with her first delivery she slants one in, finds a bit of extra bounce, moves it away, and pecks off the off-bail. A thing of absolute beauty.
80th over: India 230-8 (Sharma 29, Vastrakar 12) Sharma drives two to extra, then rocks back and times a really nice-looking drive through cover for four. That takes the partnership to 33 and it might just save the match for the tourists; 17 needed to avoid the follow-on, and the new ball is now available.
79th over: India 224-8 (Sharma 23, Vastrakar 12) We’re only two overs away from the new sphere, should England take it, and perhaps with that in mind Knight gives Brunt the old one to find some rhythm. She took a fair bit of tap last afternoon, but it’s rare she has consecutive dodgy days and hammers down a maiden to begin this one.
78th over: India 224-8 (Sharma 23, Vastrakar 12) These two are building a decent partnership now, and Sharma nails her third ball for four to square leg, Dunkley unable to stop it despite diving on the fence. I wonder if, given the follow-on situation, she’ll be entrusted with another over, and two twos later, India are looking likely to resolve that themselves. In the context of the match – only one day left after this and with rain possible – that’d be huge.
77th over: India 217-8 (Sharma 15, Vastrakar 12) Now then. Knight thanks herself and tosses Dunkley the ball for a few leggies; she looks absolutely delighted, as you might. But her first delivery is short and Sharma heaves it away to square leg … where it drops short of Brunt, just. They run one. She’s not quite there yet, her second effort well wide and her third dragged down, so helped around the corner for four by Vastrakar who, when offered width next up, cuts four more. That’s a huge over for India in the context of the match, eight from it, and now they only need 30 to avoid the follow-on.
76th over: India 207-8 (Sharma 14, Vastrakar 4) Ecclestone is forcing Vastrakar back here – she barely gets forward even when challenged with a yorker. But then she waits for one, stands tall, and times it away beautifully through cover for four; decent way to get off the mark in Test cricket. Those are the only runs from the over, and that’s drinks.
75th over: India 203-8 (Sharma 14, Vastrakar 0) Knight sends down a further maiden and now has figures of 11-8-7-2. That is rrrridiculous.
74th over: India 203-8 (Sharma 14, Vastrakar 0) Update: Julie Beaumont is not crocheting today, she’s wrapped up in what looks like a towel. It’s not actually cold in London, it’s just miserable, but it looks windier in Bristol – perhaps that’s why the rain hasn’t settled in – and Ecclestone sends down another maiden, her fifth.
73rd over: India 203-8 (Sharma 14, Vastrakar 0) Breaking: Tammy Beaumont’s mum, who we said was o camera knitting yesterday, was in fact crocheting. Apologies. Anyhow, Knight sends down a full-bunger and Sharma opts for a slog-sweep, a slightly strange call … but because she commits to it she nails it and earns four through midwicket. They’re the only runs off the over, and 44 more are required to defeat the follow-on.
72nd over: India 199-8 (Sharma 10, Vastrakar 0) This is Ecclestone’s first fourfer in Tests, and she’s got to fancy herself for more. She’s doing a really good job of cramping Vastrakar, and her fourth ball drifts into the pads; the batter does a really good job of adjusting to dig it out when, for a split-second, she looked done for. Maiden.
71st over: India 199-8 (Sharma 10, Vastrakar 0) In commentary, Ebony notes that Ecclestone is bowling a bit slower today than yesterday, and she’s getting more turn as a consequence – every pitch has its pace. Meanwhile, Sharma sweeps Knight hard for two to deep square – the only runs from the other.
“Sophie Ecclestone is such a great bowler,” says Guy Hornsby. “A fluid, classic action and really gives it flight. Almost 100 international wickets and 5 years experience. Between her and Heather Knight, England have been relentless today. India digging in, this is superb Test cricket.”
Agree with all of that. She’s so consistent, and that makes it so hard for batters.
70th over: India 197-8 (Sharma 8, Vastrakar 0) Vastrakar comes out to play her first test knock in engaging circumstances and pokes at her first ball, which dies just shy of silly point. Another wicket maiden.
WICKET! Rana c Jones b Ecclestone 2 (India 197-8)
Oh yes! Ecclestone absolutely rips this, off a length and away from Rana, who can’t help but feather behind. That’s why she’s the best in the world!
70th over: India 197-7 (Sharma 8, Rana 2) Rana is looking to score, and she cracks a cut hard, only to pick out cover point.
68th over: India 197-7 (Sharma 8, Rana 2) Sharma cuts hard when Knight offers her some width, but she picks out cover and gets nothing for her effort. She’s starting to settle though, and navigates her way through a maiden. Fifty needed to avoid the follow-on.