Outstanding Innings from Heather Knight in the Women’s Ashes Test match
Australia stays in command of the Ashes Test, but England fought back to 8-235 at stumps on day two in Canberra, thanks to a superb century from captain Heather Knight.
Ellyse Perry, Australia’s star all-rounder, broke past England’s top-order on the same day Darcie Brown became the country’s youngest Test wicket-taker in eight years.
The tourists were still 102 points behind England, averting the follow-on when they appeared to be in trouble at eight down but still fighting to stay in the series.
With a win in Canberra, Australia will retain the Ashes, while a draw would put them on the verge of retaining the trophy with just one win in the remaining three One-Day Internationals.
England’s situation could have been even worse if it hadn’t been for Knight’s lone hand of 127*.
After joining at 8-169, her unbeaten 66-run ninth-wicket stand with Sophie Ecclestone (27*) proved important.
Australia’s national team has long had an old and new guard, with a generation that pioneered the women’s game and a younger one that has profited from their achievements.
After captain Meg Lanning and her deputy Rachael Haynes set up Australia’s 9-337 declared on day one with a 169-run stand, veteran Perry was back to her best with 2-35 on Friday.
With a fine one that beat the inside edge, the all-rounder trapped Tammy Beaumont, and her next wicket came when Sophia Dunkley hung her bat out and chopped on for 15.
Perry had been dropped from the Twenty20 portion of the multi-format Ashes series, but she had always been a certainty for the Tests.
Brown’s first Test scalp came from a ball that swung away from Lauren Winfield-edge Hill’s as she slipped in the slips, with the opener playing away from her body.
Brown, who is 18 years old, is the youngest male or female player to take a Test wicket for Australia since Holly Ferling, at 17 years old, did so in 2013.
Annabel Sutherland (2-52), a young all-rounder, also took two wickets, joining Brown and Alana King (1-43) in winning their first Test scalps.
Brown got Amy Jones on the pull shot for 13 with a fantastic diving catch for one of Sutherland’s.
Sutherland’s other wicket, Nat Sciver’s inside edge on 15, was a beauty, jagging back to claim it.
King, a leg-spinner, is caught between the two generations, having made her Test debut at the age of 26 after relocating across the country for the opportunity.
She bowled with wonderful control, getting her first wicket in the form of Katherine Brunt, skipping one on to the England captain and trapping her LBW for 1 just before tea.