Australia’s returning great Ellyse Perry has underlined her enduring excellence with a match-winning innings to put her side back in charge of the T20I series in Mumbai.
And while the veteran allrounder proved as commanding as ever, it was rising teenage quick Darcie Brown who shone with the ball to ensure Australia sealed a 21-run win at Brabourne Stadium on Wednesday that puts them 2-1 ahead in the five-match series.
Perry, playing her first T20I series in 14 months, hammered a brilliant 47-ball 75 – the highest score of her international short-format career, carved out when Australia looked in a real spot of bother.
“This is an amazing team to be a part of and any opportunity you get to play a role is really nice,” said Perry.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity and had a lot of fun out there.”
Perry, still ODI cricket’s No.1-ranked allrounder, had taken a couple of key early wickets in the Australians’ opening-game win last Friday and this time, in her first knock in a T20I since October 2021, she came to her side’s aid early on.
Fresh from their first defeat all year in a super-over classic on Sunday that levelled the series at 1-1, Australia suffered a woeful start.
Captain Alyssa Healy was lbw to Renuka Singh in the opening over and Tahlia McGrath, just installed as the world’s top-ranked T20I batter, followed in the next, bowled by Anjali Sarvani.
But the 32-year-old Perry, back in the fold after missing out on T20 selection at the Ashes and Commonwealth Games, reminded everyone why she is one of Australia’s all-time greats as she wrested back the initiative, racing to her 50 off 33 balls.
The Sydneysider, who eventually fell after hitting nine fours and three sixes, had early help from Beth Mooney (30), who was dismissed for the first time in the series after scoring 201 runs across the three matches.
Grace Harris’s rollicking cameo – three sixes in a 17-ball 41 – also helped Perry take the game away from the hosts, pushing Australia to an above-par 8-172.
“The impact that Harris had was remarkable,” said Healy.
Typically, Perry preferred to praise others rather than herself.
“If you look at Grace’s innings, that was so important in the context of the match and the way she played,” she said.
“Grace is an amazing player – you just look at her strength and she can stay and deliver like nobody else probably can in the game.”
Harris had been one of three players drafted in by the Australians, with Nicola Carey and Brown also coming in for Phoebe Litchfield, Heather Graham and Kim Garth.
Brown (2-19 off four overs) also proved the key for the visitors despite a nightmarish start when she sprayed five wides in her opening over.
Next over, though, the 19-year-old got Sunday’s matchwinner Smriti Mandhana caught at mid-off before trapping Jemimah Rodrigues a couple of overs later.
She also looked to have got rid of India’s danger woman Shafali Verma (52 off 41 balls) only to get called for a no-ball for overstepping. Carey had the teenage star caught soon after as the hosts’ challenge petered out at 7-151.
“Super from Darce; she’s just such a weapon for us, and a point of difference with her pace,” said Perry.
The teams will be back at Brabourne Stadium for game four on Saturday.
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