Sophie Ecclestone happy to return to the rhythm of bowling again

England Women spinner Sophie Ecclestone was relieved to get back into the rhythm of bowling in the only Test against India at Bristol.

Ecclestone claimed four for 88 as the tourists lost their final five wickets quickly on the morning of day three to be dismissed for 231 before being asked to follow-on by Heather Knight.

Shafali Verma then struck her second half-century of the match as India reached 83 for one second time around before rain brought an early end to the day’s play.

Ecclestone took a wicket with her first ball of the day before claiming another two to go with one on day two as India slipped from 167 without loss to be bowled out before lunch.

When the tourists batted again, Verma once more showcased her quality, looking comfortable at the crease as she finished unbeaten on 55, which included 11 fours from 68 balls.

“I think I’ve not played a Test match for a while so it’s just getting back into it and it’s just a weird situation to what I’m used to,” Ecclestone said.

“It’s just getting back into a rhythm and when I did, it helped this morning getting a first wicket with my first ball, it helped me relax more – so it was helpful getting that first wicket.”

Verma, who made 96 in the first innings, again looked to dominate and had made 41 when she offered a half-chance when she edged Kate Cross behind, but neither wicketkeeper Amy Jones nor first slip could get a hand to it.

Shafali Verma scored her second Test half-century before the rain delay
Shafali Verma scored her second Test half-century before the rain delay (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I think it’s always interesting when me and Shafali match up in whatever format of the game it is. I think it’s interesting when it comes to T20 and I think she’s been great in T20, so it’s really interesting to bowl at her.

“You never know what’s going to happen with her, you never know if you’re going to get whacked over the top or she’s going to miss one so it’s really interesting to bowl at her and it’s quite a good competition for me.”

Rain constantly interrupted the day, but Ecclestone insists England need to remain focused.

“It’s really frustrating… The ball’s not doing too much out there with the wet conditions, so it’s not ideal really for us all, and the seamers especially get frustrated,” she added.

“It’s just trying to hold on to our guns and not cracking first. Whoever breaks first will lose the battle, so it’s about sticking to bowling my best ball.”