Bowlers increase England's advantage
England 207 (Edwards 114*, Perry Perry 4-56) and 0 for 9 (Knight 5*, Atkins 3*) lead Australia 9 for 159 dec. (Healy 37, Cameron 30, Guha 3-27, Gunn 2-24) by 57 runs
England fought back well with the ball on the second day at the Bankstown Oval, running through Australia to put the value of Charlotte Edwards' unbeaten 114 into stark perspective. England's tail clung on stubbornly in the morning session, Holly Colvin stretching her stay to 98 balls, and the bowling attack then combined to reduce Australia to 9 for 159 before the hosts declared. England's openers then negotiated a tricky couple of overs to increase the lead to 57 at stumps.
Edwards' ton propped England up on the first day, and she remained firm on day two, receiving good support from a determined Colvin. Their partnership was worth 49 when Colvin missed one from offspinner Lisa Sthalekar to be bowled for an obdurate 15 with the score at 196.
Lauren Griffiths managed to stick around for 23 balls before she fell to Sarah Elliott, and she was back in the action - behind the stumps this time - shortly afterwards as England's new-ball bowlers nipped out a couple of wickets before lunch.
Katherine Brunt, opening the bowling for England in her first Ashes Test in Australia, found the edge of Shelley Nitschke's bat and Isa Guha then dismissed Elliott in similar fashion as Australia slipped to 2 for 8 in the eighth over and reached 2 for 16 by lunch.
England continued to chip away after the interval, reducing Australia to 6 for 68 before a battling partnership between Jess Cameron and wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy. They carried Australia to 6 for 105 at tea but Guha then struck back with two wickets in two balls. Ellyse Perry clung limpet-like to the crease for 90 balls as Healy played a few shots to reach 37 on Test debut before she top-edged a pull to be caught at mid-on.
Australia extended their innings for just over six overs before the declaration came. That left Heather Knight and Caroline Atkins with 10 overs to face before the close, and they opted for watchful defence to ensure England go into the third day with all 10 wickets intact.
"Things didn't quite go right for us today but we're all really positive and we're looking to play a nice aggressive style of cricket," said Healy. "We declared 50-runs behind because we wanted to have a crack at them tonight and although we didn't get a break through we're really confident that we can take 10 more wickets and chase down the target.
"England were up and bowling really, really well today but we know when get a second crack we can turn it around and chase whatever they set us. We know we can win from any position."
"I'm really pleased with how we have performed today," said Guha, who picked up 3 for 27. "It's been a real team effort with wickets shared amongst the bowlers. I think that shows the strength and variety in our bowling attack. We'll be looking to have a good day with the bat tomorrow."
"It was a great feeling to pick up my first Test wickets," said Danielle Hazell, playing in her debut Test. "There was good energy in the field and support for all the bowlers. It was an interesting decision for them to declare but they know they have to win. We too are playing to win and I would personally love to pick up some more wickets along the way."