04/03/2024

Young Australian quick Darcie Brown took her first Test wicket early on day 2. (Photo: ICC/Twitter)

Ellyse Perry was impressed with the performances of the team’s young fast bowlers, particularly South Australian Darcie Brown on day two of the Women's Ashes Test.

Ellyse Perry was impressed with the performances of Australia’s young fast bowlers, particularly South Australian Darcie Brown on day two of the Women’s Ashes Test.

Coming into her second Test match this summer, Australian fans couldn’t wait to see the young quick in action.

Australia would have loved to have Tayla Vlaeminck out there opening the bowling, but she was unavailable to play due to injury.

Brown was handed the new ball and the right arm fast bowler proved to be a handful for the English batters.

On the first ball of her second over, Brown found the edge of Lauren Winfield-Hill which carried to Beth Mooney at second slip. This gave Australia the perfect start with the ball, and delivered Brown her first Test wicket.

Speaking at stumps on day two, Perry said Brown is just one of many bright young players coming through the national set-up.

“Darce has got raw pace and talent, and a really great attitude to match that. She gives it her all,” Perry said.

“I thought that catch she took was exceptional as well, and you [can] see how much fun she has in the field. We’re really fortunate we’ve got some wonderful young players coming through. It speaks volumes of the team.”

With the Women’s Cricket World Cup around the corner, there will be more opportunities for Brown to open the bowling after being named in the squad. Perry said it’s an exciting opportunity for the 18-year-old.

Nothing seems to faze Darce too much, so I think she’s in a really good spot, she’s played a lot of cricket this summer already,” she said.

“She had an outstanding WBBL [and] took a lot of wickets there, I think that is what she does. She’s… there with the new ball taking wickets, and she’s very good at doing that. It’s an exciting opportunity for Darce [and] I think she’ll take it head-on.

“We’ve done a lot of chatting as a fast-bowling group with Ben Sawyer, who’s an exceptional coach, so I think we’ve got some really good things going forward.”

Perry was one of Australia’s best bowlers. In 15 overs, the 31-year-old collected the wickets of Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley, while only conceding 35 runs at an economy of 2.33, bowling a consistent line and length.

The star all-rounder said she was pleased with the bowling attack, particularly with young Victorian Annabel Sutherland and debutant Alana King.

“I think we did pretty well, obviously it would have been very nice to take all 10 [wickets] today but I thought across the board everyone chipped in really well,” she said.

“I thought Annabel Sutherland was outstanding, and it was really nice to see Alana King get a wicket on debut, she bowled exceptionally well so it was a pretty good day for us.”

Despite most of the English batters losing their wickets, England captain Heather Knight held the innings together for her side, scoring her second Ashes Test hundred. Knight ended the day on 127 not out.

Perry thought Knight led “exceptionally well from the front” and described the knock as a really classy, gritty innings from the English captain.

“We expect no less from Heather [Knight], I think she’s a wonderful player and it was really great to watch but it would be lovely to get her out,” she said.

“Kudos to Heather because the way she played today, I thought was so important for her team.”

Midway through the day’s play, Australia had the opportunity to enforce the follow on and send England out to bat again. However, Sophie Ecclestone was able to build a partnership with her captain to ensure Australia would need to bat again.

Perry said the team was targeting the follow-on but was unable to due to the pair at the crease.

“We really had a crack at the follow on, I don’t know if it was obvious, but our field settings changed a lot,” she said.

“I thought they were quite aggressive, and we sort of did everything we could there to force a follow on.

“Particularly with the two spinners [operating] from both ends and a lot of catchers around the bat, so it wasn’t through lack of effort, but I thought that partnership with Ecclestone and Knight at the end swung a little bit of momentum back to England.”

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Their fields were so attacking that the captain Meg Lanning and vice-captain Rachael Haynes were under the lid fielding in close to the spinners and fast bowlers.

“Rach [Rachael Haynes] wore a few today and I think she was unlucky to not get a catch,” Perry said.

“Those two are such big figures in our group and to jump under the lid like that and not hand it off to a junior player [it] says a lot about their character.”

Manuka Oval is known as a batter’s paradise, but Perry said there is plenty in the pitch for both batters and bowlers.

“I think it’s provided a lot so far. It’s probably starting to flatten out, but it was lively this morning, there was enough grass on it [for the ball to] still nip around,” she said.

“I thought England bowled really well in that first patch in the morning and then we had a crack with the new ball, and I thought we did a bit with it too, so it’s been really sporting pitch.

“[There was] a little bit of variable bounce this afternoon so it will be interesting to see over the next two days.”

With two days left to get a result, Perry said time will be Australia’s biggest issue.

“I think we’ll certainly try and bounce the match, I think crucially we probably need enough time to take another ten wickets, another 12 at this stage,” she said.

“I guess that will depend on how quickly we get the wickets in the morning and our scoring rate with the bat, but hopefully, we can push the game along.

“I know there is a bit of weather around on the weekend so that may play a factor in terms of how many overs we can get. Time is probably the biggest thing, I think we need at least a day.”

With some weather around and Australia having enough runs after day one, questions could be raised about whether the side should have declared overnight, especially as they only added 10 runs to their overnight total.

Perry said the plan in the morning was to see how many runs they could make, but unfortunately, it didn’t go to plan.

“We saw this morning there was still a bit in it [the pitch], so we had three wickets in the shed and the message was sent out pretty early on to have a go and use those wickets but [to] also try and push the [run] rate along. When that didn’t happen, we declared,” she said.

“I think it was the right thing to do, to have a crack this morning [and] see how much further out we could get and then crucially have two new balls today which we did.”

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