Knight’s brave stand keeps her side’s Ashes hopes alive

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Cricket - By Der­mott Blake­ley

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

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