A half-century by Beth Mooney followed by a three-wicket burst by Sophie Molineux (3-71) saw Australia finish Day 3 of the one-off Ashes Test against England with a 221-run lead.
Given that women’s Tests are only four-day affairs, the chances of an outright result will remain bleak and a draw in this Test will be enough to give Australia the 8-0 lead in the multi-format, points-based series to retain the Ashes.
Starting the day 341-5, Australia lost Jess Jonassen for just eight before Mooney (51) and Molineux (21) stitched together a partnership to give the visitors a boost.
England fought back, however, dismissing both of them as Australia declared at 420-8 with just a few overs left before the lunch break. In reply, the hosts ended the day on 199-6 - 71 runs short of the follow-on target.
“We’re trying our hardest out there,” Sciver said at close of play. “As a team, we’ve fought really hard. Unfortunately, the wickets at the other end dictated how I played. It’s going to be a fight tomorrow. If we do get to a position where we can put Australia back in, we’ve got some world-class spinners who will hopefully be able to take some wickets.”
Australia got the early wicket through Ellyse Perry (1-30) who bowled Tammy Beaumont (0) just before lunch was taken before Molineux came to the party.
Opener Amy Jones (64) and captain Heather Knight (28) put together a solid partnership before Molineux struck to remove the latter.
Australia, then, piled on the pressure and that resulted in Nicole Bolton’s run out before Molineux sent back had Jones and Sarah Taylor (5) back to the dressing room.
Natalie Sciver (62*) proved to be a thorn in Australia’s side, the all-rounder finishing the day’s play unbeaten alongside Anya Shrubsole (1*).
Australia will now have 108 overs to try and get 14 wickets on the fourth and final day of the Test on Sunday.