Women's Ashes 2014: England rocking after dismal start to second innings in finely poised Test

Tourists lost three early wickets to finish day two on 18-3 with Australia holding a slender six-run lead overnight

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The Independent Online

England Women were rocking after a dismal start to their second innings in the Ashes Test at the WACA.

After bowling Australia out for 207, a six-run lead for the hosts, England were quickly reduced to 18 for three before the close to put the pressure on overnight.

Rene Farrell, England's nemesis in the first innings, was at it again, removing opener Heather Knight for just one in the second over of the innings and then - after Ellyse Perry had Lydia Greenway trapped lbw for five - accounting for Sarah Taylor, who went for a duck.

Adding to England's worries was the absence of opener and captain Charlotte Edwards, who hurt her knee while fielding during the second session and was not seen again for the rest of the day. As she spent so long off the field, she cannot bat until at least five wickets are down.

But if anything could give England hope, it will be the manner in which Australia recovered after getting themselves into similar difficulties during their first innings.

The hosts resumed in the morning on nine for two and the score had gone no further than 22 when Kate Cross kicked off her Test career by bowling a wicket maiden, clean-bowling Australia's danger player Jess Cameron for five.

Australia's struggles continued when Cross then trapped Alex Blackwell lbw moments later and they were on 37 for five when Katherine Brunt got rid of Sarah Elliott for 13.

But, having put them on the back-foot, England looked guilty of easing off as Jodie Fields and Perry built a 50-partnership to see them through to lunch at 89 for five.

England's frustrations grew as Brunt was no-balled for the second time for a head-high full toss in her first over after the interval, meaning she could not bowl again for the rest of the innings.

A brilliant diving catch from Jenny Gunn lifted the gloom as Fields went for 43, a third wicket for Cross.

However, Erin Osborne soon built another partnership with Perry, who reached her first Test 50 as the score moved to 148 for six.

Their partnership was worth 85 by the time Perry went for 71, bowled by Gunn.

The new ball then did for Osborne, as Anya Shrubsole trapped her lbw for 40 before England cleaned up the tail.