England Women’s hopes of regaining the Ashes remain intact after they secured a draw in the one-off, day-night Test against holders Australia at North Sydney Oval.
Captain Heather Knight led from the front with an obdurate 79 not out from 220 balls and Georgia Elwiss contributed an unbeaten 41 from 190 as the tourists reached 206-2, a lead of 38, before handshakes took place halfway through the final session.
England and Australia claimed two points apiece, meaning the hosts lead the multi-format series 6-4 heading into the three Twenty20 internationals, beginning at North Sydney Oval on Friday.
England must earn at least five points from those matches to regain the Ashes - two wins and a tie or washout is the minimum requirement - with a solitary victory for Australia taking them to an unassailable eight points.
Rachael Haynes' side would have been eyeing wrapping up a series win on day four of the Test, having begun it with a lead of 128 thanks chiefly to Ellyse Perry's double ton.
Australia boosted their chances of victory when they dismissed England openers Tammy Beaumont (37) and Lauren Winfield (34) - the pair having taken their first-wicket partnership from an overnight to 40 to 71 on a lifeless pitch.
Beaumont was bowled by a beauty from leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington - the delivery pitching around leg stump and then turning sharply to hit the top of off - with Winfield then pinned lbw by seamer Tahlia McGrath with the score on 89.
However, Knight - whose 88no led England to victory in the third ODI two weeks ago - and Elwiss blunted Australia's attack from that point, seeing off the second new ball during an unbroken third-wicket stand of 117; the skipper's fifty backing up her first-innings 62.
Knight and Elwiss' sketchy running provided the only real moments of concern - Elwiss dirtying her jumper on one occasion as she dived to make her ground moments before wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy whipped off the bails.
England captain, HEATHER KNIGHT
"Saturday was a tough day - Ellyse really took the game away from us on a slow wicket after we didn't score big hundreds in our first innings - so I am really proud of how the girls fought and stayed in the game. We applied ourselves really well and worked hard to save the Test match and hang in the series."
Australia captain, RACHAEL HAYNES
"It was a flat wicket, tough for the bowlers, but I thought the team stuck at it. We were pretty happy to pick up two wickets in the first session but England shut it down in the second. We will now freshen up and get into gear for the T20s - we are playing good cricket and are confident heading into the shorter format."
Player of the Match, ELLYSE PERRY
"It's been nice to have the chance higher up the order, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I work on my batting - I've always liked doing it - and it's nice to contribute in a side with so many wonderful batters. There is a lot of competition and when you get a chance you want to make the most of it."