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Perry Continues to Fly the Flag for Women’s Cricket with Ashes Heroics

Cricketnext Staff |July 21, 2019, 8:46 AM IST
Perry Continues to Fly the Flag for Women’s Cricket with Ashes Heroics

The third Women's ODI between England and Australia on July 7 in the multi-format Women’s Ashes was notable for Ellyse Perry’s single-handed demolition job of the hosts’ batting line-up.

Chasing 270 to win, England could muster only 75 in response as Perry ran through the top order before mopping up the tail, ending the match with figures of 7-22.

Not only were these career-best figures for the all-rounder, it was also the best bowling figures by an Australian and the fourth-best figures of all time in WODIS.

The loss saw England trail Australia 6-0 in the Women’s Ashes and needing a win in the one-off Test – worth 4 points – to stand any chance of wrestling the urn back from their rivals.

Yet it was Perry once again who proved to be their undoing, scoring a fine century to all but ensure that barring a miracle, her side would retain the Ashes.

Her century not only put Australia in a commanding position at 341-5 at the end of Day 2, it also saw her score a record 329 runs between dismissals as her previous Test knock was an unbeaten 213 against England at Sydney in 2017 – the highest Test score by an Australian woman.

Perry had laughed off claims of her being the best all-rounder in the game after the third WODI of the series but her consistency over the years means the tag isn’t without merit.

Destined for Greatness

Her journey to cricketing stardom began earlier than most – she was the youngest-ever Australian to play international cricket when she made her debut against New Zealand aged 16.

At that point she hadn’t even played a domestic game at senior level for New South Wales but was fast-tracked into the side as a long-term replacement for Cathryn Fitzpatrick.

Since then, she has gone on to represent Australia more than 200 times in white-ball cricket – she’s played 106 ODIs and 102 T20Is.

Her time in international cricket has seen her become the spearhead for the bowling attack while occupying the important No 4 slot in the batting line-up.

Yet as a teenager she played and excelled in two sports – aside from being an excellent all-rounder, she played football too as a defender.

Despite her early call-up to the national cricket team, she continued to play both sports for a while and even represented Australia in the FIFA Women’s World Cup – making her the first woman from Australia to play in both the cricket and football World Cups.

She continued her football career till 2016, playing for Sydney FC but her international career all but ended in 2014 when new coach Hesterine de Reus took over and said she would not be selected for the football side due to her cricket commitments.

Nevertheless, football’s loss was cricket’s gain as Perry has gone on to become one of the biggest stars of women’s cricket due to both her talent and marketability as an athlete.

Her knock at Taunton was further proof of her greatness yet there remains a troubling side-note to the innings. The lack of women’s Test matches played means it will be a long time before fans can expect to see an encore of this innings.

The next Test match scheduled between the two sides is in 2021 – which also be the next Test match either of these two sides play.

It’s worth noting that England and Australia are two sides that do at least shine the occasional spotlight on the longest format of the game yet most women’s international cricket is played with the white ball.

“Everything’s been few and far between,” Perry had said before the Test in an interview with Daily Telegraph when asked about women’s Test cricket.

She did go on to add that it “seems like every time I play a series at the moment it just gets a little bit bigger and better than the last,” meaning there is hope that more such knocks from her and other could mean that women’s red-ball cricket will one day enjoy the kind of popularity and attention from authorities reserved for limited-overs cricket.

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