Right then, Sri Lanka are out there, as are Danni Wyatt and Maia Bouchier. Let’s play!
Some other news from England: Lauren Bell is missing tonight’s game and the second T20I because of illness.
Sri Lanka’s XI:
Harshitha Samarawickrama, Chamari Athapaththu (c), Nilakshi de Silva, Vishmi Gunaratne, Kavisha Dilhari, Anushka Sanjeewani (wk), Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandika Kumari, Udeshika Prabodhani, Hasini Perera, Kawya Kavindi
Chamari Athapaththu puts England into bat. Heather Knight says she would’ve done the same and confirms that Kate Cross is in for her first T20I since 2019.
Mahika Gaur’s been presented with her cap by Kate Cross, a special moment for the 17-year-old quick. Looks like her family are out there too to take it in.
Right, maybe this is something to keep us busy for now: anyone fancy picking their England XI for the first game of the 2024 Women’s T20 World Cup? Send ‘em in.
Some movement of the covers, with an inspection scheduled for 6pm.
Naturally, there’s quite a bit of attention on Mahika Gaur. Worth noting that her England debut won’t be her international one – she played for the UAE as a 12-year-old (!!!!!). Twelve. Twelve.
Doesn’t really relate to Gaur, but this video still comes to mind.
Ugh, hopefully it clears up. Anyway, the pundits – Butcher, Beaumont and Greenway – have been singing the praises of Danni Wyatt, who was England’s leading run-scorer in the Ashes T20Is and then had an excellent Hundred too.
She was class in the final:
So Tammy Beaumont’s on punditry duties for Sky. She’s certainly got a strong case to be in the playing XI today, having had a terrific summer for England in other forms before smashing a historic ton in The Hundred for Welsh Fire.
By the way, the toss has been delayed. Looking rather gloomy at Hove with a bit of light rain in the air.
ICYMI, this series also marks another beginning: England’s women will now be paid the same as the men when it comes to match fees.
Hello folks and welcome to the coverage of the opening T20I between England and Sri Lanka at Hove!
It’s a new beginning for Heather Knight’s side; an Ashes cycle has come to a close and there’s a bit of experimentation at play, with the next big thing on the horizon next year’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. Sophia Dunkley’s been given a rest for both the T20Is and ODIs, as was Sophie Ecclestone before she dislocated her shoulder. Nat Sciver-Brunt has also been granted a break from these three T20Is, but she’ll be back for the 50-over stuff.
So who are the new kids on the block? Mahika Gaur, just 17, is a tall left-arm quick who has been picked on raw promise, while Bess Heath, the 22-year-old batter for Northern Diamonds, is capable of giving the ball a more than decent whack in the middle order. Both are uncapped; both are in for the two legs of Sri Lanka’s visit. With Dunkley away, Maia Bouchier will step up to partner Danni Wyatt at the top of the order in these T20Is, and she’s been hitting them well: 268 runs at 38.28 while striking at 135 helped Southern Brave to Hundred glory after their two previous runners-up finishes.
It’s not been the most gorgeous day at Hove and the forecast isn’t amazing, but let’s just hope, eh. Here’s to getting a game on, and a good one, too.
I’ll be here to take you through to the close. Drop me an email/DM to chat about whatever you fancy!