Australia bowled England out for 201 on the opening day of the women’s Ashes Test at the WACA Ground, but two late wickets for the tourists has the game evenly poised.
Rene Farrell (4-43) and Ellyse Perry (3-41) spearheaded a potent Australian attack, but the hosts found batting just as difficult and were 2-9 at stumps after facing 5.5 overs on Friday.
England fast bowler Anya Shrubsole snared both of the late wickets.
Elyse Villani (four) was caught at first slip by Heather Knight, while fellow opener Meg Lanning (five) was caught behind on the last ball of the day.
Earlier Knight and captain Charlotte Edwards, who won the toss, put on a 28-run opening stand before Holly Ferling came on to bowl and triggered a dramatic collapse.
Ferling had Knight caught in the slips by Jess Cameron for 14, the first of three quick wickets as Australia claimed 3-4 in the space of 33 deliveries.
England also lost No.3 Sarah Taylor for one and then Edwards was unluckily given out lbw off Sarah Coyte for 17 despite getting an inside edge onto her back pad.
Arran Brindle led the tourists’ recovery mission, top-scoring with 68 and taking her side from 3-32 early in the first session to 4-154 in the final over of the second session.
But Brindle’s terrific knock came to an end on the last ball before tea when she was bowled by Farrell.
Natalie Sciver (49) and Danielle Hazell (15) provided more resistance in the third session, but the visitors lost their final four wickets for just 12 runs.
The Test opens the series between Australia and England that will include three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 clashes, with the team that accumulates the most points throughout being awarded the women’s Ashes.
Australia are trying to win the Ashes in that format for the first time.