Women’s Ashes Test, The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, (day four of four):
Australia 420-8 dec & 230-7: Perry 116, Haynes 87; Perry 76*
England 275-9 dec: Sciver 88, Jones 64; Molineux 4-95
Match drawn

Australia will retain the Women’s Ashes as the Test petered out into a draw.

England avoided the follow-on and declared on 275-9, but they could not tear through the Australian batting line-up, which finished on 230-7.

Ellyse Perry (76 not out) again scored well as the tourists opted not to set England a fourth-innings target.

England trail 8-2 in the multi-format series, but could still draw it if they win all three Twenty20 games, beginning in Chelmsford on Friday.

Australia won all three one-day internationals to open up a 6-0 lead and the two points available for a draw in this four-day Test would guarantee their retention of the Ashes.

That knowledge was always at the back of their minds as they batted out the game before shaking hands with an hour of scheduled play remaining.

Marsh digs England out of first-innings trouble

At the start of the day’s play, all three results were still theoretically possible with England on 199-6 behind Australia’s 420-8 dec, but as it turned out, the most crucial passage was first up in the best period of the entire Test.

England needed 72 to avoid the follow-on and there was more intent to their batting than they had shown on the third evening when their dead-bat tactics were heavily criticised.

They did lose Shrubsole for 11 and Nat Sciver 12 short of a century, with England still 19 shy of the 271 target.

But Laura Marsh and Sophie Ecclestone combined stoically for the ninth wicket partnership to get them over the line.

Marsh, who made a brave 28, survived a testing and hostile examination from young quick Tayla Vlaeminck before a cut for four off the left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux ensured Australia would have to bat again.

More to follow.