With the final two sessions of day 3 entirely lost to the rain, and similar weather forecast for tomorrow, a draw now looks like the most likely outcome of the Women’s Ashes Test in Canberra.
The play that we did get mostly went England’s way, as Heather Knight overhauled her previous Test best score of 157 to finish on 168*. Over 60% of England’s runs off the bat came off Knight’s eponymous SM “HK” – surely one of the great individual performances in the history of women’s Tests.
There was much talk on comms of whether England would declare behind, but in my view they did the right thing of pursuing what you might call a “de-facto declaration” strategy – playing much more freely in order to close the gap on the Australian total before the inevitable final two wickets fell. This meant they didn’t take too much time out of the match, but also got much closer to the Australians than it looked like they were destined to when they took tea yesterday at 120-6. In the end the deficit was just 40 runs; and a tricky twenty minutes at the crease for Australia before lunch.
The stage was set for Katherine Brunt, and she strutted on to it as only she can – taking two quick wickets: Rachael Haynes caught by Tammy Beaumont fielding up-close off bat/pad; and Alyssa Healy caught behind by Amy Jones. It was the nightmare scenario for Australia, and gave England a real chink of light – perhaps Brunt had been right when she told the media yesterday that England could still win this?
And then the rain…