Ellyse Perry was again England’s tormentor as Australia moved a step closer towards retaining the Women’s Ashes by closing on 265 for three in the only Test between the sides.
Perry took seven for 22 as Australia clinched a whitewash victory in the one-day part of the multi-format series earlier this month, and the all-rounder’s patient 84 not out put her side in the box seat at Taunton.
On a sluggish pitch, where scoring became increasingly difficult, there were also half-centuries for Alyssa Healy, Australia captain Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes, who put on an unbroken 105 alongside Perry.
To compound matters for England, Tammy Beaumont was struck on the hand while fielding at short leg and was taken to hospital for an X-ray.
Trailing 6-0 and needing all four points on offer for the Test win to stop Australia retaining the urn, England made a breakthrough in the seventh over after being asked to field when Nicole Bolton was bowled by Katherine Brunt.
Fellow opener Healy, though, found the boundary rope with regularity as she advanced to 58 before being bowled around her legs by slow left armer by Kirstie Gordon, one of two England Test debutants alongside Amy Jones.
Gordon was denied a second wicket in her next over shortly before lunch when England captain Heather Knight dropped her Australian counterpart Lanning on 26, spilling a relatively simple opportunity at short cover.
Lanning eventually reached 57 before becoming the third Australian batter to be bowled when Sophie Ecclestone’s quicker delivery skidded on to the stumps.
Haynes, however, quickly settled into her task, racing to 21 off 26 balls before becoming more watchful alongside Perry, who reached her half-century shortly before the tea interval.
The pair hunkered down in the final session, adding only 62 runs in 33 overs, and were there at the close, with Haynes becoming the fourth Australian to go past 50.
Perry, meanwhile, will have her eyes on a second successive three-figure score against England after posting an unbeaten 213 in the corresponding fixture Down Under two years ago.