Ellyse Perry celebrating a wicket. ©Getty Images
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Ellyse Perry had another day to remember at Canterbury as she ripped apart a shell-shocked England batting line-up in the third ODI of the multi-format Ashes series at the St. Lawrence ground at Canterbury on Sunday (July 7). Coming down the hill from the Nackington Road End, the Australian allrounder took figures of 7 for 22— the best every figures by an Australian woman in ODIs. Australia won by 194 runs. In truth, it could and should have been by a bigger margin. Australia’s ODI series whitewash means they now lead the series 6-0, only two points from retaining the Ashes.

There appeared to be muddled thinking in the England camp even before the toss as Katherine Brunt missed out after injuring her ankle in the previous game. Instead of a like for like replacement England recalled Sarah Taylor, the wicket-keeper. It tempted England to bowl first, in conditions they would have normally batted.

There was extra pressure on England’s bowlers, and it started to tell quite early in the day. Kate Cross and Anya Shrubsole did put pressure on Australia’s openers Alyssa Healy and Nicole Bolton. They were, however, guilty of giving Healy a release shot far too often. In cotrast, Bolton’s poor form continued as she was trapped lbw by Anya Shrubsole for just four.

It brought Meg Lanning the Australian captain to the crease and with it went any chance of another wicket falling quickly. Healy and Lanning settled about their task watchfully waiting for the bowlers to stray off-line. With no Brunt to come on first change, Australia targeted Natalie Sciver plundering 26 runs from her first spell of three overs.

The change in intent was noticeable from Australia— their first fifty runs took 67 balls, the next fifty just 41.

Healy again looked in a different class. She played with her usual aggressiveness dispatching anything off her legs. Healy impressed also with straight drives and reached her fifty from 44 balls, including 10 fours.

When the wicket-keeper finally fell top-edging Sciver to deep mid-wicket, it was against the run of play. England started a comeback and it was much-needed relief for Sciver. Switching ends Sciver bowled much better and took the important wickets of Healy, Lanning and Perry.

They all came against the run of play. Lanning popped a catch to Fran Wilson for 69 and Perry was caught behind for seven, chasing a wide one. England had suddenly gained the momentum.

In the first half of the Australian innings, the ball had made its way across the boundary 23 times. In the final half of the innings, England only conceded eight more fours.

Australia finished on 269 for 7. England had never chased more than 243 before and they knew it would not be easy.

That said they had a batting line-up that would relish the challenge. Perry though, had other ideas. Taking the ball for the opening over against Amy Jones who she has worked over this series, she made sure to dismiss her for the third time in a row. It was a tentative push that was Jones’ downfall and Nicola Carey, the substitute fielder, at mid-on caught it with ease.

Tammy Beaumont who had scored 114 in the second ODI at Leicester soon followed Jones. Walking across her stumps Beaumont misjudged the line and the umpire didn’t have to think long about raising the finger.

Things got even worse for England as next ball Taylor edged behind for a first ball duck. 5 for 3 was the worst possible start for England. Perry and Megan Schutt from the other end gave nothing away and attacked the stumps. Perry was not finished as she added the wickets of Heather Knight and Danni Wyatt in the fifth over of her spell. Knight got the thinnest of edges to go for five.

Wyatt was one of four lbws in the innings as England were in danger of capitulating. At 21 for 6 there was no way back for England, with Perry already having taken five. Shrubsole and Wilson put a brief halt to the tumble of wickets with a stand of 19.

Perry came back for a second spell at a ground she must love only second to the North Sydney Oval. In that spell she added the wickets of Shrubsole and Sophie Ecclestone to end with incredible match figures of 10-4-22-7.

It puts Australia in the unenviable position of needing just a draw in the Test Match that starts at Taunton in 11 days time to retain the Ashes. England now know they will need to win every game to regain them, but on the evidence of today that is a very tall order.

Brief Score:

Australia 269/7 (Lanning 69, Healy 68, Sciver 3-51) beat England 75 all out (Marsh 21, Perry 7-22) by 194 runs.