Katherine Brunt puts Australia on backfoot before rain plays spoilsport on Day three

Akash Ghosh
New Update
Katherine Brunt puts Australia on backfoot before rain plays spoilsport on Day three

Katherine Brunt and England © Getty Images

Rain spoiled the last two sessions on Day three of the Ashes Test between Australia and England at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Saturday (January 29). That happened after England’s first innings folded for 297 and Australia were reduced to 12 for 2 by Katherine Brunt. The hosts currently have a lead of 52 runs heading into the final day’s play on Sunday. 

Earlier in the day, England resumed their innings on 235 for 8. In the last hour on day two, both Heather Knight and Sophie Ecclestone had grown into confidence, defending solidly and also chipping away at ease. A similar suite followed on Day three. Barring a couple of deliveries which kept low, there wasn’t much assistance from the surface and the batters found their way into the day’s play. 

There was one dropped chance though in the slips in the very first over, but after that, Ecclestone seemed to have settled in quite well. Knight picked up from where she left, leaning onto a beautiful cover drive in the second over of the day. Ecclestone was dropped once again, but the chance was much tougher this time, just after Knight had reached her second score 150 in Test cricket. 

ALSO READ: Heather Knight century helps England avoid follow-on in Ashes Test

Before Knight could manage to go past her previous best of 157, also against Australia, she lost Ecclestone, who was adjudged LBW off a delivery by Tahlia McGrath which tailed back into her. This was right after she notched up the century mark in the partnership with her captain. Kate Cross, who came out to bat at no. 11, batted positively during her brief stay. 

There was an attempt by her and Knight to hurry things up as they kept cutting down the deficit. They put on 28 runs in 41 balls before Cross pulled one delivery off Ellyse Perry and was caught by Darcie Brown at long leg. With that, the no. 11 was dismissed for 11 runs, keeping her skipper stranded at the other end for 168. On the other hand, Perry ended with three wickets as England were bowled out for 297, 40 runs short of Australia’s first innings total. 

Australia came out to bat with clouds over their heads and England bowlers licking their lips thinking about the movement which they would get. The match was perfectly set-up and Alyssa Healy didn’t last too long, to give some genuine hopes to England. Having already got out for a duck in the first innings, Healy repeated the mistake once again in the very first over, as she pushed for a delivery just outside off-side but only got an edge to the wicketkeeper. Brunt got the early scalp and also Healy twice in the game. 

The ball was doing all sorts of tricks and swinging the most, according to the stats put out by the broadcasters. With 10 minutes to go to Lunch, Brunt ran in hard and got one to angle back into Rachael Haynes. The southpaw managed to inside edge it onto her pads which then lobbed up for a catch to Tammy Beaumont at forward short leg. With that, Brunt also completed her 50 Test wickets. 

Australia were reduced to 12 for 2 and were under some pressure. As Perry walked to the middle to join Beth Mooney, who was batting on seven runs at the time, the rain came down, forcing the umpires to call lunch five mins early. The players walked back to their change room in hope of returning, but continuous rain meant that there wasn’t a single over played after that. The officials called the Day off an hour prior to the scheduled close of the day.

Brief scores: 

Australia 12/2 (Beth Mooney 7*; Katherine Brunt 2/4) and 337/9 d (Meg Lanning 93; Katherine Brunt 5/60) lead England 297 all-out (Heather Knight 168*, Ellyse Perry 3/57) by 52 runs.