Women's Ashes 2017: Heather Knight takes confidence from resilient England as they dig in to draw Test with Australia

England 280 & 206-2 Australia 448-9d: Captains Knight and Rachel Haynes agree to end only Test in a draw to leave series in the balance at 6-4 in the hosts' favour

Sunday 12 November 2017 12:23
Georgia Elwiss and Heather Knight congratulate each other after seeing England through to a draw
Georgia Elwiss and Heather Knight congratulate each other after seeing England through to a draw

England Women's captain Heather Knight says she continues to be pleasantly surprised and impressed by her side's fighting spirit after they held out for a crucial draw in the day-night Test against Australia.

Knight's tourists went into the final day at the North Sydney Oval trailing Australia by 128 runs following a chastening third day in the field and knowing defeat would end their hopes of winning the Ashes.

Resuming on 40 without loss, England lost openers Lauren Winfield (34) and Tammy Beaumont (37) in the morning session to slip to 89 for two, but Knight (79 not out) and Georgia Elwiss (41no) joined forces to frustrate the hosts.

They put on an unbroken 117-run stand to guide England to 206 for two when Australia captain Rachel Haynes agreed to call it a day.

Knight said: “There's a lot of character in this team, they keep surprising me and impressing me with how much fight they've got and how much work they put in for each other.

“And that's great for us and obviously today we fought hard again and made sure we're still in with a chance.”

Knight scored her second half-century of the match but she was quick to praise Elwiss, who in her first game on tour made a stubborn 27 off 95 balls on day one before proving an immovable object on Sunday as she took up 190 balls for her unbeaten 41.

Knight said: “Obviously we had a really tough day at the office yesterday and it was important we came back today and really dug in and fought hard and showed some character - and myself and Georgia I think did that really well.

“She's the perfect person for that situation. She's got a lot of character, she's a really tough cricketer and really stuck to her game plan and I'm really pleased I put on a partnership with her.

“Obviously a shame she couldn't get her first Test fifty but pleased with how she went and the selections we made.”

Ellyse Perry's unbeaten 213 was not enough to secure Australia victory

England now need to win all three T20 games to reclaim the Ashes but Knight hopes their battling draw in Sydney will give them momentum.

She said: “Hopefully we've taken a little bit after we fought really hard out there and we made sure they didn't have a sniff of getting that win.

“We know we've got a really tough job in the three T20s and T20s are a notoriously unpredictable format, so we know what we've got to do and for us it's about not focusing on those three games, it's one game at a time.”

Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry had previously stolen the show with a masterful unbeaten 213 to propel her side to 448 for nine declared, but with the hosts still having to bat again, the decision was taken to end the match early.


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