Star allrounder Ellyse Perry performed with both bat and ball on day two to help Australia recover from a poor collapse and grab the ascendancy in the women’s Ashes Test against England at the WACA Ground.
The hosts started Saturday at 2-9 in reply to England’s first innings of 201, then lost 3-15 in the space of five overs to be in desperate trouble at 5-37.
Perry top-scored with an outstanding 71, forming key partnerships with captain Jodie Fields (43) and Erin Osborne (40) to lift Australia to a total of 207.
Perry then trapped Lydia Greenway lbw for five, while Rene Farrell dismissed openers Heather Knight (one) and Sarah Taylor (zero) to leave England struggling at 3-18 at stumps.
The day wasn’t lacking drama.
England’s fast bowlers were magnificent early, but began to wilt in the 42C heat in Perth.
That was emphasised when star opening bowler Katherine Brunt delivered her second beamer of the day just after lunch to be banned from bowling for the rest of the innings.
Brunt sent down a chest-high delivery to Sarah Elliott in the morning, then gave Perry a head-high full toss that was pulled to deep fine leg for one run.
England captain Charlotte Edwards injured her knee in the field and the opening batter won’t be able to come to the crease until her team is five wickets down.
Anya Shrubsole led the way with the ball for England taking 4-51, while debutant Kathryn Cross claimed 3-35 including the key scalp of Fields.
Natalie Sciver (six not out) and Arran Brindle (three) will look to increase the visitors’ lead of 12 when play resumes on Sunday.
Perry was delighted to play her part with the bat, but knows Australia can’t take their foot off the pedal despite being in a strong position.
“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.
“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 them 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.
“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.”