Ellyse Perry holds the key to Australia's fortunes on day three after England made steady inroads against the hosts on day two of the women's Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval.
Though losing regular wickets in daylight, Perry's spinal innings ensured the Australians did not falter against the moving ball under lights to the same degree as England. However the slowing of the surface indicated it would be a difficult commission batting last, meaning Australia must attempt to build a lead in day three.
Resuming at seven wickets down, England were able to cobble 45 runs from their last three wickets, largely through the efforts of Anya Shrubsole. In one of the quirks of the floodlit game, the time the touring lower order spent in the middle also served to reduce the number of overs available to them with a second new ball under lights.
For a time this appeared to be a secondary concern, as England claimed regular wickets following the breakup of a stout opening stand between Nicole Bolton and the debutant Beth Mooney. The left-arm spin of debutant Sophie Ecclestone proved particularly effective, confounding Mooney and then Alex Blackwell as the English seamers kept the runs down at the other end.
However Perry, who had looked to be setting herself for a long innings during the ODI portion of the series without going on to a substantial score, was this time able to get settled in, mixing dogged defence with the occasionally powerful flourish to move the scoreboard along.
She found a willing ally in the captain Rachael Haynes, the pair combining for a priceless stand worth 73 that also soaked up plenty of overs under lights - the most challenging time of the day for anyone new at the batting crease in any match using a pink ball.
The second new ball arrived with five overs of the night remaining, and though Katherine Brunt pinned Haynes lbw in the first over of that spell - a ball after having her dropped in the slips - Perry was able to survive to stumps in the company of Alyssa Healy, who batted at the top of the order during the ODI portion of the series. Much will depend on how she and Perry get started in the afternoon.