A resolute performance from the opener Heather Knight provided some much-needed backbone for England’s women on the second day of their Ashes Test against Australia at Wormsley yesterday.
Knight finished 85 not out at stumps having faced 225 balls, a disciplined effort without which England’s 172 for 6 would have looked considerably worse.
The tourists had earlier declared on 331 for 6, Sarah Elliott turning her overnight score of 95 into 104 before Anya Shrubsole had her caught by Lydia Greenway.
Australia had resumed on 243 for 3 after a productive opening day and added 88 runs for the loss of three wickets before calling time on their innings.
Alex Blackwell reached 54 before Laura Marsh trapped her lbw, with Katherine Brunt taking the remaining wicket when she clean bowled Jodie Fields.
Elyse Perry, meanwhile, brought forward the declaration by hitting an unbeaten 31 in just 24 balls.
While Knight remained steadfast at one end, the hosts lost the rest of their top order cheaply.
Perry drew first blood by dismissing Arran Brindle, and newcomer Holly Ferling took the prize scalps of Sarah Taylor (33) and Charlotte Edwards (three). The middle order also folded around Knight, Erin Osbourne claiming the wickets of Greenway, Tammy Beaumont and Jenny Gunn for single figures.