Knight’s brave stand keeps her side’s Ashes hopes alive
It made for tough viewing, but England’s success in batting out a draw in the Women’s Ashes Test means they can still regain the trophy that they lost to Australia in 2015.
That England salvaged points from the match owed much to Heather Knight. The captain resisted any temptation to risk her wicket through a 225-ball stay – which was worth 79 not out – and accepted the offer of Rachael Haynes’s hand an hour before the scheduled end of play to seal the result.
It was the captain’s second halfcentury of a match that England had no hope of winning after Ellyse
Perry’s double-century heroics of day three. Knight and Georgia Elwiss, who absorbed 190 balls of her own for 41 not out, showed great application across their unbroken 107-run partnership.
Coming together halfway through the second hour of the opening session, England were 79 runs in the red and far from safe, but through diligent defence they exhausted the Australian front-line attack, who were given scant support from the pitch.
If anything, it only got better to bat on. The middle session clinched the result England were after, as they added only 60 runs but did so without ever looking like giving a chance to the tiring hosts. The second new ball caused some brief discomfort when Australia launched one final tilt, but by then the job was all but done.
Openers Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield put England’s second innings on the right road, resuming from 40 without loss and batting in a way that set the tone.
It took a piece of local magic to halt the stand at 71, on the cusp of the first drinks break, when Amanda Wellington ripped a magnificent leg-break across Beaumont’s defence to take her off stump. There was little she could do to keep it out.
Winfield also fell in the opening session as Tahlia Mcgrath trapped
her in front with an accurate yorker. For the briefest of moments, the hosts were back in the hunt.
But that ended with Knight and Elwiss. The latter had not played for England in nearly a year, and batted in a fashion that reflected how committed she was to the cause.
The captain said: “To come back today and make the game safe was really pleasing. We had a real tough day yesterday and the way they batted put us out of the game. So it was important we came back today and really dug in and showed a bit of character.”
The final leg of the series will be played over three T20 internationals starting here on Friday. England must win them all to regain the Ashes.
Defiant stand: Georgia Elwiss (left) and Heather Knight kept Australia at bay