Women's Ashes: Heather Knight in control as England fight back

Australia 331-6dec & 64-1 v England 314

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The Independent Online

Heather Knight and Laura Marsh wrote their names into the record books as England made Australia toil in the field on day three of the Women's Ashes Test.

Knight cracked 157 and Marsh faced 304 balls for 55 as the hosts, 113 for 6 at one point, battled their way to 314 all out at Wormsley. Australia augmented a first-innings lead of 17 by reaching 64 for 1 either side of an evening delay for bad light and rain. A draw now appears the most likely outcome on a slow pitch, provided there is not a flurry of wickets or a bold declaration tomorrow.

Having joined forces with their side 218 behind, Knight and Marsh extended their valuable partnership to 156 in 73.1 overs. That comfortably surpassed England's previous best stand when six down, of 110, and left the pair just one short of the world-record seventh-wicket alliance between India's Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami.

Knight now possesses the seventh-highest score for her country in Tests, and only Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and Janette Brittin have made more for England against Australia. She was ably supported by the No 8 batter Marsh, who exhibited stunning powers of concentration and an admirable technique to defy Australia for more than five and a half hours.

There was further slow scoring to come from Australia as the openers as Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning battled away against Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, the latter once again bowling superbly without due reward.

Haynes picked up the pace after the evening interruption, which prevented play for just over an hour. The left-hander pulled and drove powerfully but gave her wicket away when spooning a catch to cover off Jenny Gunn. Lanning finished unbeaten on 29 and had first-innings centurion Sarah Elliott for company at stumps.