Knight century puts heat back on Australia

Scott Bailey |

Heather Knight’s sparkling century has put England back in the Ashes Test, limiting to tourists’ first-innings deficit to 40 in Canberra.

After Knight and Sophie Ecclestone joined together at 8-169, their 100-run stand helped England reach 297 just before lunch on day three in response to Australia’s 9(dec)-337.

Knight’s unbeaten 168 marked the second highest Test score ever by a women in Australia, as she became just the second woman to pass 150 twice in Ashes cricket.

The England No.3 led her team superbly, as they at one stage were at risk of being asked to follow on.

Ecclestone fell for 34 after more than two hours at the crease when she was out lbw to Tahlia McGrath, but by that point England were back in the match.

Australia had earlier missed two opportunities to remove her at first slip, with Meg Lanning putting down a low chance in the second over and another tough one on 33.

Ellyse Perry knocked over Kate Cross for 11, to finish with figures of 3-57.

Annabel Sutherland was Australia’s next-best with the ball with figures of 2-62.

The four-day Canberra Test is almost at a must-win stage for England, given a victory for Australia will allow them to retain the Ashes as the current holders.

Even a draw would be disastrous for the tourists, given Australia would only need to win one of the three ensuing ODIs to keep the trophy.

A win for England, however, would give them the lead in the multi-format series 6-4, with two points available in each of the50-over matches.

It means England will likely chase the match with the ball in Australia’s second innings, with an eye to going hard at a fourth-innings target.