Women's Ashes Test: England dig in to stay on track for draw
Heather Knight and Laura Marsh set a record seventh-wicket as England's women battled to 314 all out against Australia.
Last Updated: 14/08/13 7:14pm
Knight (157) and Marsh (55) shared a partnership of 156 as England ended their first innings trailing by just 17 runs, a deficit which was increased to 81 after Australia reached 64-1 by the close of play.
But with only one day remaining in the contest, a draw now looks the most likely result at Wormsley.
The duo came together with England 218 runs in arrears but led an impressive recovery to surpass England's previous best seventh-wicket stand of 110.
Knight completed her century after 263 balls and 11 boundaries, while Marsh held firm for almost six hours at the crease and took 225 balls to hit the first four of her watchful innings.
Unsurprisingly, Marsh's 330-minute half-century was the slowest for England Women in Tests.
Their partnership was broken shortly after Knight passed 150 with a four through extra-cover, the opener run out after setting off for an ambitious single and being sent back by Marsh.
Marsh was bowled by Megan Schutt shortly after completing a laborious half-century, after which the England tail conceded meekly as Erin Osborne finished with 4-67.
There was still time for Australia to start their second innings either side of a late rain shower, with Rachael Haynes their sole casualty after being removed by Jenny Gunn for 23.
Marsh said afterwards: "I think when I went in we were pretty up against it. I was just really pleased to be able to hang in there with Heather and support her.
"It was the job the team needed and I tried to stick in there and be disciplined with my decision-making. It was really helpful to have Heather at the other end for the vast amount of the time I was there because she just played brilliantly and we kept each other going."