The Ashes Test match is the only remaining fixture of red-ball cricket for women. It comes around once in two years, and players are always looking to make the most of the opportunity. On Friday (July 19), as has become a habit for her, Ellyse Perry notched up her second Test century, and in doing so become the second Australian after Betty Wilson to score tons in consecutive innings. The first was an unbeaten double hundred at North Sydney Oval in 2017; the second, a less dramatic 116 at Taunton.
“They are not really comparable I guess,” Perry said at stumps on day two. “I suppose it’s always really nice in an Ashes series in particular the one off test match. The team is doing well, in really good position, and I think that’s been great. The start… the way we got I don’t think the conditions were particularly easy. For us I guess we were greedy in the way we batted I thought yesterday Alyssa Healy played really well and so did Meg. I guess it gave us a great platform to have a partnership with Rach so I really enjoyed it.”
It’s hard for any player to score consecutive hundreds in a format they rarely ever play. So to switch from shorter formats to longer is more of a mental adjustment, admits Perry.
“(Playing Tests) have just been one of those things where I’ve wanted to make the most of it in my career and it’s been really nice to have a few opportunities to do that, and it’s just fun out there.”
Test match cricket comes around so rarely for the women that across Australia’s cricketing history, only 176 women have represented their country. It’s an honour the entire team understand, and a reason why they treasure the opportunity to don the whites.
“We don’t play a lot of Test matches and they always feel like big occasions. For me, yesterday was the most spine-tingling cap presentation I’ve ever witnessed. That just brought such a sense of occasion to it, to see another three girls get Baggy Greens, there’s only been 176 of them (in total).”
Perry is widely acknowledged as one of the best and most hard working players around the world. Her preparation is always meticulous, her work ethic is incomparable and her mental fortitude is second to none. If ever there was any criticism of Perry, it was that she sometimes over or over-corrected, however, that she says, is something that has changed over time. She has learned to let go and enjoy herself a little more, and so far it has reflected in her performances.
“I certainly feel a little bit older and more experienced now and with that, a bit more laidback with the way I approach (cricket),” Perry said. “I’ve always been meticulous and straight with it, and I still am, but I guess I’m a little bit older and dare I say wiser, so I know what works.”
“It’s hard not to enjoy this period, (it’s the) the most amazing period of women’s cricket and women’s sport we’ve ever had.”
Perry’s work in this Test match has only begun. Century out of the way, it is now time for her to rattle England’s batting line-up with the red ball.