Perry’s un­beaten dou­ble cen­tury takes Aus­tralia a step closer to re­tain­ing Ashes

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Der­mott Blake­ley in Syd­ney

Ell­yse Perry bat­ted Eng­land out of the Women’s Ashes Test with an un­beaten dou­ble hun­dred. The all-rounder nav­i­gated Aus­tralia from trou­ble through par­ity and on to dom­i­nance with her flaw­less 213 not out.

The visi­tors en­tered for the fi­nal day – the Test is sched­uled to end early to­day UK time – with all their wick­ets in hand but 128 runs in the red.

With the hosts in a strong po­si­tion to re­tain the trophy, Heather Knight’s side still had high hopes of clean­ing up the sec­ond half of Aus­tralia’s in­nings with a healthy first-in­nings lead. With 103 runs to play with, it was vi­tal they struck early. But with wick­et­keeper­bats­man Alyssa Healy rid­ing shot­gun, the Aus­tralians set the tone with four bound­aries in the first four overs.

De­spite the sec­ond new ball hav­ing brought re­wards for Kather­ine Brunt the pre­vi­ous evening, Knight opted for left-arm spin­ner So­phie Ec­cle­stone to re­sume in­stead with Anya Shrub­sole. It back­fired. With Perry us­ing the depth of the crease to cut pre­cisely, and Healy twice de­posit­ing Eng­land bowlers into the crowd, the visi­tors suf­fered a wick­et­less and dam­ag­ing open­ing hour, con­ced­ing 56 runs. Perry reached her hun­dred with a glance off Laura Marsh. Healy didn’t last long af­ter the 100 part­ner­ship was raised, on 45 mis­cu­ing Marsh to mid-off, where Shrub­sole took a fine catch with Eng­land 10 runs to the good. But Knight failed to do like­wise when Tahlia McGrath gifted her a chance at cover, and it was costly.

The two all-rounders sucked the life out of Eng­land’s at­tack in the mid­dle ses­sion, com­plet­ing an­other triple-fig­ure stand that ran un­til McGrath pinged a full toss from Ge­or­gia El­wiss to Nat Sciver at mid­wicket on 47.

Perry moved the board along on her own mea­sured terms to reach her 150 mile­stone be­fore din­ner. She then be- came the first Aus­tralian woman to join the Test 200 club when bat­ting with No11 Megan Schutt.

On 194, she tried to clear the bound­ary for the first time in her 474-minute stay. De­ceived by the crowd’s re­sponse, she cel­e­brated as though she had, but re­plays showed it drop­ping just short. But she made it the next over and added a big six be­fore Rachael Haynes de­clared with 17 overs re­main­ing. Eng­land open­ers Tammy Beau­mont and Lau­ren Win­field sur­vived, but with 100 overs at Aus­tralia’s dis­posal, Eng­land needed plenty more where that came from to save the game and keep the se­ries alive.

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