India v England, women's Test, New Delhi, 1st day November 21, 2005

Raj at the helm as India make solid start

India 241 for 5 (Raj 78, Jain 40, Chopra 65, Dhar 32*, Sarha 4*) v England
Scorecard



Mithali Raj cuts on her way to 78 © Getty Images

India haven't played any international cricket for six months, but you wouldn't know it. Their batsmen coursed to 241 for 5 by the close after bossing the first day of the one-off Test against England at New Delhi. Mithali Raj led the charge with 78, and she enjoyed solid partnerships with Karuna Jain and Anjum Chopra.

The toss was a no-brainer on a flat pitch under sunny skies, but India were soon in trouble after Monica Sumra perished for 6 with the score on 12. Enter Raj who joined Jain to add 83 for the second wicket, and then 59 for the third with Chopra.

England's bowlers knew very well that this was the partnership to break and set their gameplan to bowled tight and disciplined lines. This they did, and finally, finally it paid off, with Rosalie Birch dismissing Raj for 78.

With the ball starting to rip, Charlotte Edwards had turned to her spinners, Birch and Laura Harper, and she also had a bowl herself later on. Harper bowled Asha Rawat for 9 just before stumps, to add to her earlier dismissal of Jain. There were few alarms for the batsmen throughout the day, although there were a few shout for bat-pad catches and lbw appeals later on as the ball began to turn.

Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn bowled well with the new ball without much luck. They found some swing early on and Brunt found Sumra's wicket as she feathered through - but from then on there was little on offer to help them.

Richard Bates, England's coach, told Cricinfo he was happy with his side's performance in conditions which offered little for the pace bowlers for much of the day apart from some early swing, and a little bit for the spinners later.

"We're pleased we restricted them to two-and-a-half an over," he said. "We would have been expecting to have posted 300 or 350 on that pitch today if we had batted." He knows his bowlers will have to keep working hard tomorrow morning. "If we can get the other five wickets by lunch and get 300 ourselves that would be nice."

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo