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Mithali Raj confused by early end to Bristol Test against England


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Twelve overs were still left in the game when umpires called bad light and the players started shaking hands

Mithali Raj, India’s Test and ODI captain, has expressed surprise at how their one-off test against England ended last week. According to her, the visiting side wanted to continue batting when play was called off on the final day with 12 overs still left to be bowled. In response to this assertion from Raj, England captain Heather Knight explained that bad light was the reason for the premature close to proceedings in Bristol.
Though no result other than a draw was possible at the time, two of India’s five Test debutants, Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia, were batting on unbeaten scores of 80 and 44 respectively, their rearguard ninth-wicket stand having swollen to 108.

“We wanted to continue the play and that’s what we informed to the opposite captain, and they continued,” Raj revealed on ahead of the ODI series opener between the two sides. “But then I was told by Sneh Rana because even I was a little on the back foot when I saw the bails coming off and them walking out. So I asked her what happened and she said it was a bad light call taken by the umpire .

“That’s what they were told. But then I saw the teams were congratulating [each other], so the umpires told that since both the teams are congratulating, it’s pretty much taken that the match is over. That’s what I was told by Sneh Rana. So that’s what happened.

Knight, meanwhile, revealed that Raj was nowhere to be found when England were ready to accept a stalemate.

“It became apparent to us that it was going to end in a draw, so we asked to shake hands with the Indian team,” Knight said. “We couldn’t actually find Mithali, so I think eventually a message got back on to us to that we were to carry on, which was fine. And then the umpires [Chris Watts and Sue Redfern] took us off for bad light and then the Indians came over and shook our hands. So that was what happened.”

Knight also confirmed that the first ODI on Sunday will be played on a fresh pitch and that Sophia Dunkley, who made a first-innings unbeaten 74 on her Test debut last week, will make her maiden ODI appearance.

“Yes, I have [had a chance to take a look at the pitch], Knight said. “You’ll be pleased to hear it’s a fresh one. It looks pretty good, [with] an even covering of grass. Yeah, [it] looks like a reasonably good batting deck as it usually is with a fresh wicket in Bristol.”

The teams head into the three-ODI series, which kicks off the limited-overs leg of the multi-format tour, on an even keel, with two points apiece. Wins in the white-ball games, which also features three T20Is, will be worth two points each.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha

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