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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 08:48 GMT
England women eye Ashes success
Women's Test, Bowral, day three (close):
Australia 154 & 195-4 v England 244

Isa Guha (right) took three quick wickets but Australia hit back well
England were on top with Guha's strikes before Sthalekar hit back

England's women are on course for a draw to retain the Ashes despite letting Australia recover from 33-3 to 195-4, a lead of 105, with a day left.

The tourists claimed a first-innings lead of 90 by adding 22 to their 222-7 and then took three quick wickets.

Seamer Isa Guha trapped Melissa Bulow and captain Karen Rolton lbw, and bowled Alex Blackwell in between.

Lisa Sthalekar (98no) added 107 with Shelley Nitschke (36) and 54 unbroken with Kate Blackwell to lift the hosts.

Laura Marsh was the first visiting batter to fall on day three, losing her off-stump for seven to a delivery from Emma Sampson.

Guha, who had taken 5-40 in the first innings, to help bowl Australia out for 154, hung around for 48 balls to make four as the runs dried up.

Rosalie Birch (12) was caught at mid-wicket to hand Kirsten Pike a maiden Test wicket and Guha was lbw to Nitschke.

Lisa Sthalekar
The elegant Sthalekar is on the brink of her second Test hundred

After making early inroads, England could have left the Australians in even more trouble but Beth Morgan dropped a return catch off Nitschke, who was on eight, in her first over.

Holly Colvin finally got the breakthrough in the final session when she succeeded where Morgan had failed.

However, Sthalekar, who played some elegant cover drives and powerful pull shots, remained a major obstacle.

The tourists will need to remove her early on day four to boost their victory chances, although they only need to avoid defeat to keep hold of the Ashes they won in 2005.

  • England seamer Isa Guha:
    "The game is well set up for an exciting finish.

    "We didn't maintain the pressure on the Australians as a bowling unit and gave away too many loose balls to enable them to capitalise.

    "However we're prepared to come out and show again how strong a bowling unit we can be. We're determined to take the Ashes home with us and are all looking forward to it."

  • Australia all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar:
    "A draw for us isn't going to cut it. We'll definitely be looking for quick runs to get ourselves into the best position that we can.

    "I'm not really worried about my individual performance. The most important thing is getting a team score that is competitive against the English.

    "If I need to swing from ball one I'll do it - I don't care what score I am on."

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