Ruthless Australia retains Women's Ashes  07/21/2019 17:46:38  2

Australia have retained the Women's Ashes after the final day's play of the Test at Taunton ebbed away into a draw.

Going into Sunday's match with a six-point lead, Australia only needed to avoid defeat to clinch the Women's Ashes, with three T20s still to play, and were ultimately happy to settle for a draw rather than chase victory in the last session.

Elysse Perry finished unbeaten on 76, leaving her 24 runs short of becoming the first woman to hit two centuries in a Test match.

Sharp catch halts Mooney

Stalemate was all but certain from the moment England avoided the follow-on in the morning session and, despite a first-innings lead of 145, Australia opted to let Perry rack up runs rather than give the hosts the faintest of chances to chase a target.

The allrounder was not quite as irrepressible as in her first-innings knock of 116 and was fortunate not to be given out lbw when ball-tracking showed Sophie Ecclestone's delivery in line to crash into her leg stump.

After England declared their first innings at 9-275, Australia found the England spinners tricky to deal with against the new ball with Sophie Marsh (2-42) taking two wickets in an over bowling Alyssa Healy (13) with a sharply turning delivery and then trapping Rachael Haynes (1) in front of her stumps.

Aussies suffer early double blow

Australia skipper Meg Lanning (21) could not blame the surface for her dismissal, as she contrived to hit a rank, thigh-high full toss from Kirstie Gordon (1-19) into the hands of the diving Georgia Elwiss at cover.

Perry received support from a triumvirate of left-handers: Beth Mooney (25), Jess Jonassen (37) and Sophie Molineux, who raced to 41.

Earlier, England's Nat Sciver came within 12 runs of a maiden Test century when she agonisingly chopped a ball from Jonassen onto her stumps, while Molineux finished with 4-95.

The sides will meet again on Friday in the first T20 international in Chelmsford.

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