Rene Farrell stars to give Australia a chance
Australia 9 for 159 dec & 1 for 29 need 169 runs to beat England 207 and 149 (Gunn 30, Farrell 5-23)
A hat-trick and five wickets for Rene Farrell set up a tense final day of the one-off Test between Australia and England, with the hosts needing another 169 runs to regain the women's Ashes. Farrell stormed to 5 for 23 off 17 overs, mixing control and destruction as England fell for 149 in their second innings at Bankstown Oval.
That left Australia with a target of 198 and they lost Rachael Haynes (4) before Shelley Nitschke and Sarah Elliott both scored 12 as they guided the side to 1 for 29 at stumps. Farrell, whose stock ball is an inswinger, reduced England to 7 for 95 with her hat-trick, which began with the vital wicket of Charlotte Edwards.
Edwards, who scored 114 in the first innings, was again looking comfortable until she was lbw on 28 when attempting to hit across the line. Katherine Brunt played-on and the locals erupted when Danielle Hazell missed a full ball and was caught in front, giving Farrell her hat-trick and fifth wicket.
In her previous over Farrell had removed Jenny Gunn, who top scored with 30, and had picked up Caroline Atkins in the second over of the day. "Winning the Twenty20 World Cup last year was a massive highlight but this sits up there very high on the list and I'll remember it for a long time," Farrell said.
"The girls asked me what I was thinking before the hat-trick and I just said what we had been saying all Test - that's to take it one ball at a time. I wanted to bowl it nice and straight and make her play and I was lucky to get the lbw. It's a great feeling now and to also finish with a five-for was nice."
England resumed on 0 for 9 and were soon suffering at 3 for 35. Edwards and Gunn slowly rebuilt the innings during a 57-run stand in 28.1 overs, while Isa Guha (26) and Holly Colvin (21) were even more gritty when they added a crucial 41 for the ninth wicket.
While Farrell was outstanding and the conditions have been tough for scoring throughout the match, England were not helped by three run-outs. Australia have not held the trophy since 2005 and face a testing assignment to regain the prize.
"It was a very good day for us but there is still a long way to go in this Test match and it will be an even better feeling if we can chase these runs," Farrell said. "I love celebrating any wicket for Australia and if we can pull this win off tomorrow we'll be celebrating a great win."