Dream England debut for former Berkshire bowler Lauren Bell
Former Hungerford and Berkshire bowler Lauren Bell took two wickets on her England debut against South Africa at Taunton.
Bell opened the bowling and finished with figures of 2-47, including the prized wicket of Marizanne Kapp, as South Africa were bowled out for 284 in their first innings.
England then declared on 417/8 thanks to hundreds from Nat Sciver and Alice-Davidson Richards before rain came to South Africa’s rescue and the match was drawn.
That didn’t dampen Bell’s spirits, however, who said “the rain did ruin a chance of a result, but it was still a special week for me.”
Bell was presented with her test cap before the toss by Southern Vipers teammate and former England international, Anya Shrubsole.
“All my family were there which made it such a special moment,” Bell said.
“Anya presented it to me which was an incredibly proud moment, it was a dream come true.”
Bell was one of four debutants following the retirements of Shrubsole and England’s third highest wicket taker in women’s tests, Katherine Brunt.
“There was loads of excitement, lots of new faces, lots of energy,” she said.
“I was definitely nervous, I was honoured to be opening the bowling.
“I settled into the game and was really happy with how it went, it’s definitely something to build on, for sure.”
Bell claimed her first international wicket in her second spell when she trapped Lizelle Lee lbw for a duck.
She said: “It was so exciting, I was so happy to get the first one on the board, it was a huge sense of relief and a special feeling.”
Bell, 21, has since been named in the next England squad for three ODIs against South Africa, beginning at Northampton on July 11.
"I'm ecstatic, I was more nervous about this squad announcement, it's another great opportunity," she said.
A new era for England, then, and Lauren Bell is right at the heart of it.