Ellyse Perry celebrates her second ODI ton. © CA DIGITAL (Cricket Australia)

West Indies are one of the opponents that Ellyse Perry loves batting against. Coming in to the game on Sunday (September 8), she averaged 120.66 against them with the bat, with a best of 74 not out. However, the sparse crowd in Antigua witnessed Perry’s second ODI ton, that took her average to 158.00 against them.

Perry’s heroics with the bat, aided by fifties from Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner meant that Australia downed West Indies in the second ODI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound by 151 runs to clinch the series with a game to spare.

Meg Lanning, the Australian skipper who hit a century in the first ODI, was ruled out of the match due to back spasms just before the toss and as a result, Rachael Haynes was asked to lead. She won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first.

Immediately, Healy – fresh from a ton in the first ODI – began well by smashing a short ball from Shamilia Connell to the deep square leg fence. A couple of overs later, Chinelle Henry, the right-arm seamer, was carted for 18 runs in an over – one six and a couple of fours.

Riding on this crisp start, Healy, in the company of Haynes, the duo put on a half century stand.

Stacy-Ann King, the left-arm pacer, was then summoned into the attack. She bowled from round the wicket to Haynes -an unusual angle – to stem the flow of runs. The move worked as the dot-ball pressure got to the Australian captain. In an attempt to pull one over mid-wicket, she got a top edge, to be taken by Natasha McLean at mid-on. Haynes had at that point laboured to 13 off 34 balls.

Perry then joined Healy in the middle, as King continued to build the pressure at one end. It brought about a nick from a Perry drive, only for Reniece Boyce, the wicket-keeper, to spill it.

Healy, on the other hand, had got to a half century – her eighth in the format – off just 33 balls. Soon enough, though, she departed with Henry getting her revenge. Healy had to walk back for 58 off 43 with ten fours and a six.

Beth Mooney joined hands with Perry and the pair kept the innings on track with an enterprising partnership. Mooney took her time to see the bowlers and then play her strokes. Debutante Sheneta Grimmond, the off-spinner, was hit for 13 in her third over.

Perry then brought up her 28th half century, followed by Mooney, who brought up her seventh. But the heat got to the latter, who then retired on 56 off 81 balls.

That brought Ashleigh Gardner to the middle. The 22-year-old’s aggressive approach allowed Perry to take it easy until she got to a hundred – her second in the format. She guided a full ball to third man to get to the landmark off 110 balls. She had played strokes all around the park and the landmark was a just reward. Mind you, she made the hosts pay for dropping her early in the innings.

Post Perry’s ton, Gardner played a catalytic knock. She smashed the listless West Indies bowlers around the park at the back end of the innings, notching up her half century off just 23 balls. Australia had posted 308 for the loss of two wickets, with Gardner remaining unbeaten on 57 off just 25 while Perry was unconquered on a personal ODI best of 112 off 117 balls.

Chasing 309 for the second time in the series, West Indies, yet again, had nothing much to write home about. As captain Stafanie Taylor later admitted after the game, the batters seemed to have “lost concentration”.

Stacy-Ann King was out early, getting LBW to Perry – again. Then Reniece Boyce, the wicketkeeper batter, and Kyshona Knight stayed together for close to ten overs but without much to show. Eventually both of them departed having eaten up more deliveries. While Boyce went for a 34-ball 12, Knight made 32 from 81 balls.

Leg-spinner Georgia Wareham was the best bowler on display for Australia as she was on the verge of a hat-trick at one point. Knight got a top edge in an attempted sweep to a full toss to get caught at short fine leg, while on the next ball, Taylor’s indecisiveness saw her dismissed caught behind.

Grimmond and Shabika Gajnabi, towards the end, stitched together a 59-run partnership that just delayed the inevitable. Taylor said that it was the type of cricket the entire team would look to emulate as the duo went about playing positive cricket.

Perry loves West Indies, as her record suggests. Courtesy her unbeaten ton, she was adjudged the Player of the Match. With the third ODI to be played at the same venue, only one side would be losing sleep over Perry. And that  won’t be Australia.

Brief Scores: Australia 308/2 in 50 overs (Ellyse Perry 112*, Alyssa Healy 58) beat West Indies 157/8 in 50 overs (Kyshona Knight 32, Sheneta Grimmond 31; Georgia Wareham 2-29) by 151 runs. PoM: Ellyse Perry.