Ellyse Perry followed up her stellar bowling efforts with an unbeaten fifty to rescue Australia. © Getty Images

Ellyse Perry followed up her stellar bowling efforts with an unbeaten fifty to rescue Australia. © Getty Images

Ellyse Perry hit an unbeaten 70 to rescue Australia Women on the second day of the Women’s Ashes Test against England Women, but they weren’t out of the woods yet.

England dismissed half the side on Friday (November 10) at the North Sydney Oval, but Perry’s defiant knock frustrated the visitors as Australia went to close at 177 for 5, trailing by 103.

Australia had a fairly firm start after bowling England out for 280, with Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney adding 48 runs for the first wicket before both openers fell to misguided pull shots.

First, Bolton fell for 24, sending a shortish ball off Laura Marsh straight to short mid-wicket. Mooney did the same off Sophie Ecclestone’s bowling to fall for 27. Ecclestone, the debutant left-arm spinner, then removed Alex Blackwell with one that kept straight, reducing the hosts to 61 for 3.

That became 95 for 4 when Anya Shrubsole got into the act, having Elyse Villani caught behind for 14, but Perry stitched together a 69-run stand with Rachael Haynes (33), the captain, to put Australia back on course.

Katherine Brunt, the right-arm seamer, broke the threatening partnership in the closing minutes of the evening when she followed up a wicket-taking delivery that was dropped at second slip by producing a peach to trap Haynes in front for 33.

Alyssa Healy and Perry negotiated the last four overs left in the session to set up an intriguing third day.

The morning began with a bit of a fright for Australia after Mooney was hit flush in the face with the ball during the warm-ups, but she avoided injury and was given the all-clear to take the field.

England added 45 runs to their overnight total of 235 for 7 before getting bowled out. Fran Wilson was dismissed early in the first session, but Shrubsole scored a vital 20.

Megan Schutt took two of the three wickets to fall on Friday to end with 2 for 52, and Ellyse Perry then wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Laura Marsh to finish with 3 for 59. Tahlia McGrath and Jess Jonassen also took two wickets apiece while Amanda-Jade Wellington snapped up one.

On Thursday, Tammy Beaumont (70) and Heather Knight (62) set England up for an imposing total with a 104-run partnership for the second wicket, but the Australian bowlers restored parity with a few wickets at the end of the day.

Brief scores: England Women 280 in 116 overs (Tammy Beaumont 70, Heather Knight 62, Georgia Elwiss 27, Sarah Taylor 29; Ellyse Perry 3-59) lead Australia Women 177/5 in 85 overs (Ellyse Perry 70 n.o., Rachael Haynes 33; Sophie Ecclestone 2-51) by 103 runs.