All-round Ellyse Perry headlines Australia's Ashes series win
Ellyse Perry in action during the Ashes © Getty Images
All-round performance from Ellyse Perry helped Australia win the second ODI and the multi-format Ashes series with a match to spare at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Sunday (February 6). The series now stands at 10-4 with only one ODI to go. Under criticism for her performance in recent times - especially in the shorter formats - Perry turned back the clock to haunt the England batters with some outstanding out swing bowling and mixed it with a few short-pitched stuff. Then she came back to score a crucial 40 with the hosts finding themselves in a tricky position during the chase.
After Meg Lanning opted to bowl first, Perry, opening the bowling in the absence of Darcie Brown, began the day with a flurry of out swingers. She was finally rewarded for her persistence when she had Tammy Beaumont caught brilliantly by Alyssa Healy for just six.
Lauren Winfield-Hill, at the other end, started with a miscued pull in the opening over but looked confident as she played a few good shots for boundaries. However, introduction of Alana King paid immediate dividends for Australia. The leg spinner had Winfield-Hill trapped in front of the wicket when the right hander went for a sweep.
Once Jess Jonassen was introduced into the attack in place of the expensive Annabel Sutherland, England struggled and only 17 runs came in the seven overs post the power play. In the next over, Natalie Sciver tried to get a move on and skied one straight to mid-off off Jonassen. The visitors suffered a body blow when the left-arm spinner got rid of Heather Knight as well in the 20th over.
It went from bad to worse when England lost three more wickets in quick succession. Sophia Dunkley found herself plumb in front of the wicket off Perry, while Danielle Wyatt was caught brilliantly at first-slip by Meg Lanning before Perry bounced out young Charlie Dean.
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From 68 for seven, it was up to Amy Jones and Sophie Ecclestone to lead the recovery. They bid their time for a bit before Jones found her first boundary off Sutherland. The duo took England past the 100-run mark when Ecclestone swept Jonassen for a four.
Just when it looked like the pair would go on for a few more overs, introduction of Tahlia McGrath into the attack tilted things in the favour of Australia again. The allrounder first removed Jones with a delivery that came back and then trapped Kate Cross in front of the wicket as well - later it was found to be missing the stumps but England had no reviews left.
Meanwhile, Ecclestone played a few eye-catching shots including a huge six off Jonassen to add a few more runs to England’s total. McGrath finished off the innings when Anya Shrubsole became her third wicket. Ecclestone remained not out on 32 to become the top-scorer for England.
For Australia, Perry and McGrath took three wickets apiece, while King and Jonassen combined to pick up three wickets from their 19 overs giving away only 48 runs.
In what look like a straight forward chase, Australia didn’t have the greatest of starts as they lost Rachael Haynes in the sixth over. Cross gave England some hopes when she castled Lanning for a duck in the first over of her spell.
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Perry, buoyant from her bowling display, started the innings with back-to-back boundaries and then drove Ecclestone through the covers to get her third four.
Even though Healy hit a six over long-off, she fell soon after off Sciver for 22. That didn’t deter Perry as she pulled Sciver for another boundary. In the company of McGrath, she took Australia to safety.
However, there was still some drama left in the game as England fought hard. Cross first struck with the ball to remove McGrath before getting Perry with a direct hit. But the hosts needed only 31 for wickets and despite the loss of five wickets, Ashleigh Gardner played a few shots to get them over the line.
Gardner took on Shrubsole and hit for a six and a four to nip out any hopes England had before finishing the match in the next over helping Australia win the multi-format Ashes series at home for the first time.
Brief Scores: England 129/10 in 45.2 overs (Sophie Ecclestone 32*, Amy Jones 28; Tahlia McGrath 3/4, Ellyse Pery 3/12) lost to Australia 131/5 in 35.2 overs (Ellyse Perry 40, Ashleigh Gardner 31*) by five wickets POTM: Ellyse Perry