Ellyse Perry credits a more relaxed approach with her continued dominance of the women’s Ashes series, which Australia seem on the brink of retaining.
Perry’s 116 led Australia to a commanding position of 5-341 before rain ended play after lunch on day two at Taunton, from where a victory for England looks a forlorn dream.
Although the dedication to her craft remains devout – as evidenced by her passing three figures without offering a chance – all-rounder Perry admits, now in her second decade representing Australia, she has eased the pressure on herself and reckons it has paid dividends in the series.
“I’m a little more laid back about the way I approach it now,” Perry said.
“I’ve always been a little bit meticulous and straight with it – and I still am – but I guess I just am a bit older and, dare I say, wiser so I know what works.
It’s hard not to enjoy this period. It’s the most amazing period of women’s cricket and women’s sport so I really want to make the most of it and enjoy it for what it is.”
Few would have taken a bet on her emulating the unbeaten double hundred she notched in her previous Test when she faced up to Laura Marsh, but the sequence of 329 runs, 655 balls or 1436 days since the former Matildas soccer star was last dismissed in Test cricket – in the 2015 Ashes – ended in shocking fashion.
After punishing full tosses with boundaries throughout her knock, Marsh (2-68) feared the worst when she sent one down, only for Perry to offer a simple catch to grateful opposing skipper Heather Knight.
“I wasn’t that hopeful to be honest, I was glad she hit the ball straight to Heather,” Marsh said.
“I don’t think that’s the plan (in future) but when someone’s going well like that it’s nice when a bit of luck goes your way.”
Marsh also took the wicket of Rachael Haynes (87), with whom Perry had put on 162 for the fourth wicket, trapping her leg before when she was eyeing her first Test century.
Perry is now focused on adding to the 11 wickets she took in the three one-day internationals and is convinced a result is still possible.
Australia, who will resume with Beth Mooney (7) and Jess Jonassen (4) at the crease on Saturday, only require a draw to retain the Ashes but, despite the inclement weather, Perry is confident there will be enough assistance in the pitch to give them hope of securing victory.
“I don’t think the conditions have been particularly easy…we’ve still got a good opportunity and enough time in the game to win if we bowl really well,” Perry said.
“I think that poses a really good challenge to our bowling unit, obvs there’s a bit of turn out there and there’s play for seam as well.”