Only Test, Canberra, January 27 - 30, 2022, Women's Ashes
337/9d & 216/7d
(T:257) 297 & 245/9

Match drawn

Player Of The Match
168* & 48

Rain halts England fightback after Knight and Brunt rattle Australia

The home side slipped to 12 for 2 after England's captain had got their first innings close

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Heather Knight continued to add to her century, Australia vs England, Only Test, Women's Ashes, Canberra, January 29, 2022

Heather Knight continued to add to her century  •  Getty Images

Australia 337 for 9 dec and 12 for 2 lead England 297 (Knight 168*) by 52 runs
A stirring England fightback was halted by rain in Canberra after Heather Knight's magnificent career-best 168 not out carried England to within 40 of Australia's first-innings total on the third day before Katherine Brunt rattled the home side with two quick wickets.
It left Australia with a precarious lead of 52 and a ball moving significantly for England's quicks, but there was no more play after lunch as heavy rain swept through. There will be an early start on the final day with 109 overs to be bowled, but time is now running out to force a result. England are the side more desperate for the four points as they trail 4-2 overall. However, the fact they were even in such a position to consider it was down to the performance of their captain.
The ninth-wicket stand between Knight and Sophie Ecclestone was extended to 100, an England record, then No. 11 Kate Cross chipped in with a useful hand until Ellyse Perry's third wicket ended the innings.
Brunt then made immediate inroads as the weather closed in. She found Alyssa Healy's outside edge with one which bounced and moved away as the wicketkeeper bagged a pair and had Rachael Haynes taken at short leg with the penultimate delivery before rain arrived on the stroke of lunch. It took Brunt's match haul to seven wickets and carried her to 50 overall in Test cricket.
"Brunty's having a brilliant Test and the way she bowled - the aggression, the skill - hunting Australian wickets, and to pick up those two wickets felt like we could really break the game open, try and get them out for a cheap score and set up a chase so obviously a little bit frustrating," Knight said. "We are still holding out a little bit of hope…there's a little bit of time left in the game so we are going to have bowl absolutely out of our skins to try and take early wickets and put the Aussies under the pump. We live in hope."
Knight, who resumed on 127, went past her previous best of 157 made in 2013 and become just the second batter to make two 150+ scores in Ashes Test after Karen Rolton. She had come out with positive intent from the start, unfurling a glorious cover drive, a hook against Perry and a slog-sweep off Jess Jonassen which took her to 150 off 274 balls.
"Think it's my best innings for England, definitely," Knight said. "The situation we were in, in an Ashes game against probably the best team in the world, so super pleased. I felt quite rusty at the start, they bowled pretty well with the first new ball, but when you've played a lot of white-ball cricket and you have a red-ball moving it's quite hard not to have a little flirt with it, and I did that a few times, but managed to get through that tricky period and when the spin came on I felt a lot more comfortable and found my rhythm.
"The way Sophie batted was unbelievable, the team really need her to stand up. She's got a really sound technique and really chuffed for her that she was able to put in that patient knock…to get us so close to the score. I was looking at a great situation being 70 or so behind, so to get to the deficit we did was a real effort."
It was a frustrating morning for Australia who had hoped to secure a far more substantial lead. When they finally bowled England out it felt a long time since there was talk of the follow-on.
Ecclestone was given two lives, both by Meg Lanning at slip, the first coming in the opening over of the day and another when she had 33 but that was a tough one diving to the right. She was eventually trapped lbw by Tahlia McGrath who became the seventh bowler to take a wicket.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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