Women's Ashes: Rain halts England v Australia after Ellyse Perry's 116

By Adam LaniganBBC Sport
Women's Ashes Test, The Cooper Associates County Ground (day two of four):
Australia 341-5: Perry 116, Haynes 87, Healy 58, Lanning 57
England: Yet to bat

England's Women's Ashes hopes are hanging by a thread after Ellyse Perry and persistent rain thwarted them on day two of the Test at Taunton.

Perry made 116, adding 162 for the fourth wicket with Rachael Haynes (87) to further bat England out of the game.

By the time rain arrived at lunchtime Australia had reached 341-5, and no further play was possible after that.

With only two days of the Test remaining, the tourists just need to avoid defeat to retain the Ashes.

Having won all three one-day internationals, Australia lead the points-based, multi-format series 6-0.

Perry dampens English hopes

England desperately needed early breakthroughs but could not find a way past Perry.

Unbeaten on 84 overnight, she brought up a deserved century off 247 balls, but was eventually - and unexpectedly - caught off a full toss from spinner Laura Marsh.

After an unbeaten 213 off 374 balls against England at North Sydney in 2017, Perry had amassed an incredible 329 runs from 655 deliveries since her previous dismissal in Tests.

But after four and a half hours at the crease, there was still no first Test century for Haynes, who had made 98 on her debutexternal-link a decade ago.

Dropped on 66 by Sophie Ecclestone, the vice-captain fell lbw, also to Marsh.

The weather forecast is better for Saturday and Sunday but, having taken only five Australia wickets in four sessions, England will need inspiration with bat and ball if there is to be any chance of an unlikely victory.

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board's Jonathan Finch, high performance manager for women's and girls' cricket, confirmed on BBC Test Match Special that England will travel to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in December to play their away series with Pakistan in the ICC Women's Championship.

Do England have to risk losing to win?

Ex-England captain Charlotte Edwards on TMS: "I would rather England lose this game trying to win it than going out to play for a draw.

"If Australia declare, there's two ways that I hope [captain] Heather Knight and [coach] Mark Robinson are thinking about.

"You either go out and score quickly and declare behind, or you go out and score 100 more than Australia, declare and try to get them out [and win by an innings]."

England spinner Laura Marsh told BBC Sport: "We can take a lot of pride in how we've bowled. Perry has played very well, not a lot of luck has gone our way throughout the series but luckily the full toss I bowled went straight to Heather.

"We still believe we can turn this around. The game can change quickly - if we can come out and put them under pressure, you never say never."

Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry told BBC Sport: "I've had some good fortune at times in the last couple of matches, but we love the challenge of Test cricket and want to make the most of it.

"The conditions in the last couple of days demanded a bit of grit and sometimes some slower scoring. But it's up to us to make a game of it, we've got to take 20 wickets and that's going to be a pretty hard task."

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