Rain forces draw between England and South Africa in Taunton Test


England remain without a Women’s Test victory on home soil since 2005 after their match against South Africa at Taunton was halted early due to rain.

Heather Knight’s side had looked to close in on victory on the final day, with South Africa having started at 55 for three in their second innings, still 78 runs behind England’s first-innings total.

However, any hopes of a result were dashed by two substantial rain delays, before the match was eventually called off at 5.35pm with the tourists having reached 181 for five and a lead of 48.

Black clouds over Taunton
Rain forced the Test between England and South Africa to end in a draw (Nigel French/PA)

The sides left the field for the first time at 1.05pm – the third rain stoppage of the match as a whole.

They eventually returned at 3.50pm, but play could only take place for another hour before they were forced back into the changing rooms.

England were unable to make the required inroads after play resumed, and Marizanne Kapp was denied an opportunity to fully follow up her first-innings 150, as she reached 43 not out before play was brought to close.

Tumi Sekhukhune played an expert role as the nightwatcher after being promoted from a first-innings place at number 10 to number four, and she offered very few chances, scoring 33 from 134 deliveries.

The situation could yet again increase the demand for five-day women’s Test cricket, with the last result in all Tests across the world having come in 2015.

South Africa led by seven runs at lunch, having scored 85 in the morning session.

Kate Cross made the first breakthrough of the morning, trapping South Africa captain Sune Luus lbw for just 10 runs trying to flick the ball into the leg side.

Lizelle Lee was dropped behind off Issy Wong, who had starred with two quick wickets at the end of day three. The ball went high to wicketkeeper Amy Jones, but she was unable to hold on to it.

South Africa looked to be building a partnership between Lee and Sekhukhune until the former was caught by a well-timed run and catch over the shoulder from Cross.

Lee made 36 and looked comfortable before her mis-judged attempt to hit over the top from Sophie Ecclestone.

England missed a chance to get Sekhukhune out when she was on 33 – dropped by Ecclestone in the slips off Wong – but it mattered little as the rain forced a draw.