Women's Ashes: England and Australia draw, keeping tourists Ashes hopes alive

Both sides came close to claiming victory, but a dramatic draw in the one-off Test means England's Ashes hopes are still intact.

After a rain-affected third day, there was far more drama at the Manuka Oval on Saturday night, as England and Australia battled to a dramatic draw.

Australia started the day on 12 for two but led the match by 52 runs. That poor start, inflicted by Katherine Brunt's late double the previous day, was quickly mended by Beth Mooney and Ellyse Perry who together made a stand of 91 before the third wicket.

Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath also contributed over 30 runs themselves as Australia made an attacking declaration of 216 for seven, setting England a target of 257 runs to win off 48 overs.

Knowing that a loss here ended their hopes of winning the Ashes, England took the challenge head on, with an average of five runs per over needed.

It started reasonably well as Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill made an opening stand of 52 in 14 overs, but captain Heather Knight - fresh from her 168 in the first innings - upped the levels entirely.

Knight made 48 from 54 balls and Nat Sciver and Sophia Dunkley followed suit, the former making 58 from 62 and Sciver stunning with 45 from 32.

Having raced to 218 for three, England suddenly looked favourites to win the one-off Test match, but Australia came roaring back into contention.

They quickly reduced the tourists to 244 for nine, completely switching momentum back in their favour.

One more wicket would've ensured Australia won the match and the Ashes, but Kate Cross stubbornly defended the final two overs to reach 245 for nine and seal a climactic draw.

The stalemate gives each side two vital points in the series, meaning Australia currently lead 6-4 after their T20 success earlier this month.

They now head into the conclusive three one-day international matches, the first of which starts on February 3.

READ MORE: Women's Ashes: 'Little hope' left admits Heather Knight as third day is cut short by rainfall

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