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Perry keeps leading Australian women

By Chris Pike
12 January 2014 03:18AM EST

ELLYSE Perry again proved why she is the country's best female athlete saving Australia from disaster in the Ashes Test with the bat and now she's looking to set up the win with the ball.

Perry is Australia's opening pace bowler and started the only Ashes Test of the seven-game series played over the three formats at the WACA Ground on Friday claiming 3-41 in 22 overs in an impressive performance as England was bowled out for 201.

Australia then found itself in desperate trouble early on Day 2 falling to 5-37 after losing 3-15 in a five-over period, but that's when Perry came to the crease and she showed why she deserves to be labelled a cricketing all-rounder as well as a sporting one with her multi-sport talents.

Firstly Perry combined with captain Jodie Fields for a 55-run sixth wicket partnership and then put on another 85 with Erin Osborne to get Australia out of trouble.

Perry fell for a hard-earned 71 as Australia was approaching England's 201 with her innings lasting over three and-a-half hours, taking 172 balls and including 10 boundaries as she was the key player in the home team finishing on 207 with a six-run first innings lead.

"The biggest thought was that we had a lot of time today to play out in the middle and for all intents and purposes, it was a pretty nice wicket to bat on and given the heat we really wanted to leave England out in the field as long as we could," Perry said.

"Initially coming to the crease it was about getting in and feeling comfortable, and once that happened it was easier to score runs and build a partnership to wrestle back a little bit of the moment. England's opening spell this morning was really good and put us under a lot of pressure, but it was also nice to then have the opportunity to fight back a little bit."

Perry enjoyed her opportunity to create her partnerships with Fields and Osborne that at this stage have been the most important of the match.

"It was nice to have the opportunity to bat with Jodie and also Erin. We spoke a lot about how crucial partnerships are, and to have a couple of partnerships over 50 in the context of the match was really nice. I certainly enjoyed batting with both those girls," she said.

"Once the new ball lost its shine and the ball wasn’t moving around as much, it turned out to be a really nice day to bat on the wicket. It was really nice to have the opportunity today, but all in all it was a fantastic effort for us to get close and eventually go past their total."

Perry then took the new ball as England faced nine overs in its second innings before stumps and Perry trapped Lydia Greenway in front for five while Rene Farrell dismissed Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor to leave England 3-18 with a lead of just 12 heading into the third day.

"As a batter you are almost on a hiding to nothing because it doesn’t really matter how many runs you score, but you really want to make it through to the next day," Perry said.

"It was a great opportunity for us to have that 45 minutes to bowl and I thought Rene did a really good job to pick up two crucial wickets. It was nice to have a couple of overs myself this afternoon as well."

The Australians weren’t setting a cracking pace going at a run rate of under two and-a-half throughout the innings, but that was far from a concern particularly in the 40-plus degree heat in Perth.

Then with England captain Charlotte Edwards off the field injured and opening bowler Katherine Brunt unable to bowl the rest of the innings after two bumpers, Australia was keen to keep the tourists in the field as long as possible.

"We knew that going into today that it was going to be really hot so I guess it was nice to lose the toss in hindsight and bowl yesterday," she said.

"It was probably noticeable towards the end of the day and the longer we batted, you see that the heat does have an impact and take its toll on bowlers especially.

"The more time we spent in the middle the easier it was to score runs and it would have been the same if we were out there today, it was really hot."

Even though Australia now looks on top after two days with England only leading by 12 with seven second innings wickets in hands, Perry knows they still have plenty of work to do.

"It's been a really funny match so far and it has tossed and turned a lot. There has been parts of the match where we've been on top and other parts with us on top so it's a bit hard to call, but certainly we did a great job tonight and it has put us in a great position," Perry said.

"Both of their batters at the crease are key wickets for us and hopefully we can hammer home some more momentum in the morning, but I think it's going to be another tough and competitive day of cricket."

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