England v Australia, 1st women's Test, Hove, 2nd day August 10, 2005

Edwards leads England reply

Cricinfo staff

England 230 for 4 (Edwards 69, Brindle 53*) trail Australia 355 for 9 (Rolton 71, Nitschke 81*) by 125 runs

Charlotte Edwards on her way to 69 © Getty Images
A run-rate of 2.35 overs, and just five wickets falling in an entire day's play? The menfolk would scoff at such conservative cricket, but for England's women, discretion was the better part of valour as they closed in on Australia's first-innings total of 355, on the second day of the first Ashes Test at Hove.

After the disappointment of letting Australia's tail off the hook yesterday, England were determined to grind their way back into the game, as first Charlotte Edwards, and then Clare Connor and Arran Brindle inched England back into contention. After Laura Newton had launched the reply with a hardhitting 24 from 22 balls, Edwards dug in to anchor the innings with 69 from 171 balls, including 12 measured fours.

She was eventually bowled by Shelley Nitschke, who had done so much to frustrate England earlier in the match, after Australia had slumped to 115 for 7. Her unbeaten 81 from No. 10 was the highest international score of her career and her first international half-century as well, as she and Clea Smith (42) added a further 27 to their overnight 328 for 9.

Smith and Nitschke added 119 for the tenth wicket, until Katherine Brunt struck with her third wicket, for figures of 3 for 64. But the frustration that England's bowlers felt was matched by their Australian counterparts, as England ground their way towards first-innings parity. Claire Taylor chipped in with 35, before Connor (41) added 84 with Brindle for the fourth wicket.