Mithali Raj expressed pride over the fight shown by her team in Bristol and asserted that the positive result will do a world of good to the team’s confidence heading into their next four-day affair. Raj further stated that the Bristol draw is a huge psychological boost heading into LOIs.
Expectations were low from India’s side heading into their one-off Test against England in Bristol, purely because of the lack of red-ball practice, with them having not played a Test match in seven years. But despite the hosts, several times in the contest, being in a position to kill the game, India kept fighting back relentlessly. A defeat seemed inevitable when England enforced the follow on but an astonishing display of grit, courage, patience and resolve from the batters on the final day ensured that the historic Test ended as a draw.
India will not have to wait seven more years to play their next four-day affair, and skipper Mithali Raj reckoned that the confidence gained from the Bristol draw will keep her side in good stead when they lock horns with Australia in a pink-ball Test later in the year.
"These girls have shown even with lack of practice with the red ball and the longer format, they stood up and performed. I think confidence is what we will be carrying into the next Tests. I know it's a pink ball Test but preparation will be equally important,” Mithali said on Saturday.
"Having said that, the mental space that these young girls are in after today's performance will have a very positive impact, moving into a longer format for the coming Pink Ball Test.”
A defeat looked inevitable on Day 4 when India slipped to 199/7, but an inspired showing from the trio of Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia and Shikha Pandey denied the hosts a certain victory as India batted 121 overs in the second innings to save the Test. Mithali lauded the fight shown by her side and asserted that the long-term goal for the team is to incorporate the same attitude in every game they play, notwithstanding the format.
"I think that's a great way to start a series where you know from a situation where we were literally looking at a Test mach loss, and from there we've come to a draw, that clearly shows that the girls are not ready to give up and they are ready to fight.
"That's something we're trying to build in our team environment and that's something we try and take it forward from here, so that the team grows from strength to strength, just not in one format, but each time we take the field," the Indian skipper said.
The tour has just begun, though, as, after a week’s break, the two sides will play three ODIs and as many T20Is. Raj asserted that the moral victory in Bristol would be a huge psychological boost for the side heading into the limited-overs leg.
"Psychologically I think it's a big boost and will definitely put England on back foot because they know that even though the main batters have not performed, the lower middle order stood up," Mithali said at the post-match virtual conference.
"The Indian batting line up is deep now and it's not just the top-order. The lower middle order also can bat and put in match-winning partnerships," she said.
The first ODI will be played on June 27 in Bristol.