Australia v England, Only women's Test, Perth, 3rd day January 12, 2014

Cross rocks Australia after Edwards rally

Australia 207 and 5 for 57 (Cross 3-13) need another 128 runs to beat England 201 and 190 (Edwards 56, Perry 5-38)

In an exciting day of Test cricket, which ebbed and flowed to a dizzying extent, Australia collapsed to 5 for 57 chasing just 185 as England struck repeatedly with the new ball in the final 90 minutes of play. The crucial breakthroughs came via Kate Cross, whose consistent line once again belied her debutant status, as she took wickets in successive deliveries. Five balls later Cross struck again, handing Alex Blackwell a pair for the match.

Australia had moved swiftly to 0 for 28 in six overs, before Katherine Brunt checked their progress, as Elyse Villani chanced one too many and skied the ball in the air, giving Natalie Sciver, moving forward from second slip, an easy catch. In the wake of Cross' burst, Jenny Gunn, who had proved vital at stemming the flow of Australia runs - she conceded just two off seven overs - then had Jodie Fields stumped for 13, the batsman lifting her back foot off the ground as she played a defensive stroke.

Ellyse Perry, who rescued Australia from a similar predicament in their first innings, batted to the close alongside Sarah Elliott, with the match delicately poised.

Having begun the day in a precarious position, three wickets down and just 12 runs ahead, England were indebted to Arran Brindle and Sciver, who extended their fourth-wicket partnership to 54 during in the morning session. Fields' tactics of short, attacking bowling with a loaded leg-side field failed to bear fruit, as the two quicks Rene Farrell and Holly Ferling struggled to bowl to plan, with both punished through the covers by Brindle as a result.

Perry, whose all-round contribution has been impressive, struck just before lunch with two quick wickets, bowling Sciver and having Brindle lbw for 35. But even Perry could not manage long spells in the Perth heat. England had toiled in the field on the second day; now it was Australia's bowlers who grew gradually more exhausted and frustrated in the hour after lunch, during which Perry did not bowl an over.

Sarah Coyte and occasional spinner Elliott failed to hit the right line as Charlotte Edwards, batting at No. 7 after a knee injury kept her off the field on Saturday, proved she was fully recovered with a series of lovely strokes around the ground. Gunn, who made her highest Test score of 44, proved an able partner at the crease.

Edwards had reached 56, her ninth fifty-plus score in an Ashes Test (more than any other woman), before Perry was brought back into the attack. She struck immediately with an inswinger that did for Edwards, hit on toe in line with leg stump. Danielle Hazell was then dismissed by Coyte to a poor shot, nicking a wide one, and when Gunn was out in the last over before tea, caught behind off the bowling of Erin Osborne, England led by 171.

The tail frustrated Australia for a while longer, with Brunt surviving 47 balls to finish not out, but only 13 runs were added before England's last two wickets fell, with Perry completing a maiden five-wicket haul in Tests. England's second-innings total of 190 was short of the runs they needed to feel confident of victory, though was in keeping with what had gone before in this match.

Australia made the chase look easy in their first few overs, racing off to a fast start as Villani took nine off the first over from Brunt, followed by three successive boundaries off the bowling of Shrubsole. But then the wickets tumbled. As it is, it will require a big effort from Perry - who bowled 20 overs in the innings, to go with 22 in the first, and must be exhausted - for Australia to win this Test and take the six points on offer in the Ashes series.

Raf Nicholson is a PhD student, an England supporter, a feminist, and fanatical about women's cricket. She tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Merv on January 13, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    Well done. Good game. How good was the all-round performance of Ellyse Perry with bat and ball?

  • Mark on January 13, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    @JG2704 True, but as has been demonstrated today, the tail is less effective against fresher bowlers.

    Actually, it has been the 6th/7th wickets that have supplied the runs as bowlers tired and this innings was no exception but, when Perry fell, it was all over quickly.

  • Henry on January 13, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    Thanks Raf, nice summary & nice to hear your voice on the stream during yesterday's lunchtime interview. Wish we had more stats context for these matches. I went looking for other women who've recently scored 50 or more + taken 5 or more wickets in a match & only found Lisa Sthlaker's effort vs India in Adelaide in 2006. But I stopped when I saw Betty Wilson's & Enid Bakewell's earlier all-round performances - wow!

  • Phil on January 12, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    We can have "The Big Bash" on UK TV (got bored with the one game I started to watch), but we can't have this exciting game. Here's hoping the Aussie tail gets done over tomorrow!

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    such a shame that we not able to watch live coverage here in England and specially when they are performing far better than men's anyway so proud to see Kate Cross doing well still remember those days of under 18 when she played against us a talented and competitive individual

  • Steve on January 12, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    JG2704 - couldn't agree more mate. Great shame there isn't even a highlights package on UK TV, I also really enjoy watching the womens games.

    I went to see the womens T20 final (Eng v Aus) at the Rosebowl about 3 or 4 years ago, somewhat sceptical about the quality of the womens game. I saw an excellent game with really high skill levels and none of the histrionics often seen in the mens game. Since then i have been to games several times and thoroughly enjoyed the Eng V Aus battles in particular. The new Ashes points format is a great idea too.

    My cricket club has a training day lined up with the England womens team at the begining of the season (auction win at a charity event last summer). I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing their skills at first hand - I suspect we will discover just how good they are and look like complete monkeys instead of the decent club cricketers we are.

    Fingers crossed for a couple of early breakthroughs in the morning

  • ESPN on January 12, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    It's being shown through the cricket Australia website. Also commentary on R5 sports extra

  • John on January 12, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    @CS - It's been one of those matches where the lower order/tail from both sides have got the bulk of the runs so Eng are not there yet. A shame (unless I'm missing it) there seems to be no tv coverage over here.Would an hour's highlights coverage a day be too much to ask? I often (in a strange way) prefer watching the women's games

  • Mark on January 12, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    England can come out tomorrow with fresh, rested bowlers, knowing that and early wicket should finish this off. It should be quite a finish. The first hour will be very tense because it is where the match will be won and lost.

    A side can't depend on just one player all the time and expect to win.

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