By Chris Devine at Wormsley
Heather Knight was happy to take things slowly when helping to dig England out of a hole on day two of the women’s Ashes Test at Wormsley.
Replying to Australia’s total of 331 for six declared, the hosts were in big trouble when their sixth wicket went down with just 113 on the board.
Yet Knight refused to buckle and found belated support from the dogged Laura Marsh in a stand that took England to the brink of avoiding the follow-on.
The seventh-wicket pair added an unbroken 59 in 36 overs, Knight reaching 85 from 225 deliveries and Marsh facing 114 balls for her 13 not out.
“When the ball goes soft and they bowl straight it’s quite hard to score, so it’s almost about boring them and waiting for the bad ball,” said England’s top-scorer after the close of play.
“It was really good batting with Laura; she’s a good mate of mine and did really well out there.
“It’s a shame that we lost a lot of wickets but we bat really low down in our team. Hopefully we can go out tomorrow, score a few more runs and then come hard at them with the ball.”
Knight cracked a smile when asked if Australia’s fielders had chided England for their slow progress on the second evening.
“Not really,” the opener replied. “We gave them a bit of stick when they were batting so it’s a bit ironic that we did the same thing (in scoring slowly).”
Still only 22, Knight displayed great maturity and no little skill in holding firm while wickets tumbled.
“I was just concentrating on what I was doing at my end and not worrying too much about the other end,” she explained.
“I feel good about my cricket at the moment. Whatever I’m doing is working, so it’s just about carrying that on. It’s going really well.
“It’s 10 more for the follow-on, so it’s about getting past that now. And then there’s the new ball in about six overs so hopefully that will bring a few more runs. It’s still a good track; the outfield is quick.”
Off-spinner Erin Osborne claimed three wickets during a chaotic period either side of tea that saw five England batters depart for the addition of 33 runs.
Although Knight and Marsh steadied the ship thereafter, Osborne remained satisfied by a day that started with Australia 243 for three.
“We’re really happy. We came here today wanting to score quickly (and did), then taking six wickets was very pleasing,” she said.
“We’d have liked to have broken that last partnership, which was a little bit frustrating, but we were very disciplined and bowled good areas without luck.
“I think we were always going to have to bat again. We are going to have to bat very positively and put them in as soon as possible.”