Ellyse Perry shakes hands with Heather Knight after her Ashes hundred

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Australia Women 341 for 5 (Perry 116, Haynes 87) v England Women

As if it was not already clear that Ellyse Perry is the finest allround cricketer in the women"s game, she confirmed her pre-eminence on the second day of the Ashes Test at Taunton by converting her overnight 84 into a steadfast 116 that has put Australia in total command of both the match and the series.

It was Perry"s second Test century in as many innings, having also racked up an unbeaten 213 at Bankstown in 2017, and by the time she was removed after five-and-three-quarter hours at the crease, she had amassed a women"s Test record of 329 runs between dismissals.

On her watch, Australia batted England to the very brink of Ashes surrender, as she and Rachael Haynes added 162 for the fourth wicket, more than double the total when they had come together on the first afternoon.

And though both players fell in the final overs before lunch, that did not signal an upturn in England"s fortunes - far from it. Instead, a bout of persistent rain swept across Taunton, blurring out the Quantocks and writing off 68 precious overs in which England might have begun to script their response.

In reality, however, the brief window of play reconfirmed the extent to which Australia have pulled away from their biggest rivals in the women"s game. With 341 runs on the board and 200 overs left in the game, there"s only one side that can realistically win this game now, not least if Perry reprises the sort of bowling form that earned her 7 for 22 in last week"s third ODI.

For the time being, however, it was all about Perry"s batting, as she and Haynes added 76 more runs in 32 overs of the morning session. They proceeded with caution but poise, withstanding a disciplined spell from Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, who found the sort of full and probing lengths that had deserted them on the first day, but were unable to find a way past two solid techniques and dead-straight bats.

Having resumed on 84, Perry"s progress through the 90s was glacial, in both speed and coolness. Both of her morning boundaries were things of beauty - a perfectly placed punch through the covers as Shrubsole offered a hint of width, before leaning on an effortless on-drive to ease Nat Sciver through long-on.

There was a bit of a stutter on the brink of her milestone - Haynes was over-eager in backing up on 99 and might have caused a run-out - but two balls later, a wayward shy from square leg gave away the vital overthrow to take her through to her second Test century.

It was another example of England"s ropey fielding in the crucial moments. Meg Lanning had been dropped early in her innings on the first day, and today it was Haynes" turn for a life - a full-blooded pull bursting through Sophie Ecclestone"s hands at square leg on 66. She couldn"t quite make her luck count for three figures though - Laura Marsh straightened an offbreak into a planted foot as Haynes attempted to sweep on 87. A thin brush of glove went unnoticed by the umpire.

Perry"s vigil had ended four overs earlier, as she galloped out of her crease to meet Marsh on the full, and scuffed a low clip to Heather Knight at midwicket. She grimaced as she departed, but not before an appreciative handshake from Knight herself, which was as much an acknowledgement of England"s series situation as of Perry"s supremacy.

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