Ellyse Perry Enjoys Another Legacy Of Improvement, The Day Of > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Ellyse Perry enjoys another legacy-enhancing day out
It came through overthrows. But the method didn't matter - it was always coming.
Test century number two for Ellyse Perry was more predictable than the weather that arrived at lunch. The chance of a downpour on Friday had fluctuated wildly over the preceding 24 hours. But just a quarter of an hour into Perry's 346-minute innings, you just knew, didn't you? Forecasts predict. Perry produces.
Resuming on 84 and looking to close out the match for Australia in the first innings, she was as focussed as upon arriving at the crease in the 26th over on Thursday. She might have got to her century sooner than the 246 balls it ended up taking, but neither she nor Australia were in any rush. Six-nil and all.
Women's Test cricket is a peculiar beast. Since 1934, there have been just 140 centuries, including this one here at Taunton. But only 30 have come since 2000 and just eight have taken place this decade. As such, the format is no well for analysis but it does provide a few quirky statistical anomalies.
Meg Lanning, one of the finest batters there has ever been, averages just 17 and before Thursday had not even reached fifty in the format. In 10 years of captaining England, Charlotte Edwards oversaw just 10 Tests. Most striking is New Zealand's Suzie Bates, a veritable great of the modern era, has zero Test caps to her name. It is likely, and shameful, she will never earn one in her career.
Somehow, Perry has managed to carry her legacy into the format. Never mind the one World Cup and four T20 WC medals, her greatest honour might be negotiating the cauldron of irregularity that is women's Tests. She now averages 68.5 with the bat - the second-highest - and 17.33 with the ball, along with the fourth-highest strike rate for any bowler with 30 or more wickets.
But while watching her play each ball on merit, finding fielders when she didn't need runs, beating them when she did, it was hard not to feel an inherent sadness. Because though Perry has cracked Test cricket, it will forever be the novelty of the women's game.
Players want more of it, but administrators want even less. In England, where red ball cricket thrives in the County Championship and far, far below, there are no ambitions to create a multi-day women's competition because, on a number of levels, it would lack sustainability. The sentiments are similar in Australia.
And the reason that is sad is not because of the format's stock in men's cricket, but because, really, what else does Ellyse Perry have left to achieve? She could win more 50-over and 20-over World Cups, bumping up each column in the process. But it was hard watching her raise her bat to all four corners of a sparsely populated County Ground and not wonder if she has already seen the greatest vistas and tasted the finest fruits. Maybe all the worlds have been conquered?
Right in front of us stands one of the greatest we've seen who has reached the ceiling of her game long before that of her own ability. There is nothing beyond this. No multi-Test series to challenge even her consistency or diversity of surfaces to question her skills. Perry is now 28 and, aside from allowing life to get in the way, her task is now to simply maintain. To plateau. It doesn't feel right.
Naturally, Perry was livid when dismissed, timing a Laura Marsh full toss straight to midwicket. She barely acknowledged what there was of a crowd as she stormed off. After 329 balls faced and 655 runs across her last two Ashes innings, she was finally out. She is the fourth woman to make hundreds in consecutive Test innings and, heck, why not have a dart at three on the bounce before this game is out. It can't be long before she's simply going around breaking her own records and the controlled rage as she dragged herself away from the crease suggests she won't mind that.
There comes one crumb of comfort: the drive, that insatiable lust for runs, wickets and accomplishments, remains. But maybe the real kicker is what it means for others.
As long as she is still playing, hers will be a wicket for your mantlepiece or the ultimate test of your technique. And as long as Women's Tests are a thing, it sounds like Perry could even carry through on the emotions of others.
"We don't play a lot of Test matches and they always feel like big occasions," she said, post-match. "Yesterday (Thursday) for me was the most spine-tingling cap presentation I've ever witnessed," she added after Ashleigh Gardner, Sophie Molineux and Tayla Vlaeminck were presented their Baggy Greens before play.
Maybe this is too macabre a thought. In front of us stands someone who has the part of star allrounder, star bowler and star batter on countless occasions. Life only deals you a certain number of hands and here is someone who's been dealt three and played them brilliantly.
Perhaps we just need to appreciate that there'll never be another one like Ellyse Perry.
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