On Wednesday, batting allrounder Sophia Dunkley became the first black woman to be selected in the England Test team when she was handed her cap ahead of the one-off Test versus India at the Bristol County Ground.
Heather Knight had won the toss and elected to bat first. Sophia Dunkley, who was impressive in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy playing for the South East Stars, became the 161st England Test player, but is the first black woman to do so in the longest format for the Three Lions. She has represented England in 15 T20Is since making her debut against Bangladesh in the 2018 World T20.
Sophia Dunkley on Test cricket:
“Obviously playing Test cricket is a very rare occurrence in the women’s game so I think it’s exciting that people want to see women’s Test cricket,” Sophia Dunkley had told the PA news agency.
“It’s a really exciting direction. I know quite a lot of the girls have not played a lot of Test cricket, but to have the opportunity to play the historic game of cricket, it’s very, very exciting.
“I’ve not played very much in the past, but it’s something that I’d love to play. Obviously, the men get to play Test cricket all the time and it’s such a renowned format of cricket in the men’s game,” the 22-year-old added.
India hand debuts to 5 players including Shafali Verma
While England handed a single debut to Dunkley, India, on the other hand, have as many as five debutants in its line-up. Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia, and Pooja Vastrakar will make their first appearance in the whites for the country.
The huge number of debutants in the Indian team is mainly because the India women team is playing a Test match after 2014, 7 years from the year where they beat England and South Africa in a one-off Tests.
Shafali Verma, 17, is the number 1 ICC T20I batter and was given her maiden call-up to the Test and ODI side. She is included in the eleven, partnering Smriti Mandhana, to provide the explosiveness at the top, and counter the England bowlers. Verma has played 22 T20Is so far and smashed 617 runs at a strike rate of 148.31.
After this Test match, Mithali Raj will lead the team in 3 ODIs; both sides will meet in 3 T20Is as well to close out the tour by July 15.