England 40 for 0 (Beaumont 25*, Winfield 12*) and 280 trail Australia 448 for 9 decl (Perry 213*, McGrath 47, Ecclestone 3-107, Marsh 3-109) by 128 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ellyse Perry soared into rarified air with a double-century that redefined the Women's Ashes Test on the third day at North Sydney Oval.
In taking Australia from a probable deficit to a commanding lead of 168 before they declared, Perry turned her first international century into an innings to rank with another first-time centurion - Bob Simpson's 311 against England at Manchester in 1964. For significance in a series, it bore comparison to Steve Waugh's even 200 against the then world champions West Indies in Jamaica in 1995.
Like Waugh, Perry waited until the No. 11 was at the crease to reach the milestone. Rather than Glenn McGrath, this time it was Megan Schutt who held firm to help Perry to a milestone that gave her the highest score by an Australian woman in Test matches. Perry ended her innings undismissed as the hosts chased late wickets under lights.
Though they were unable to separate Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont before the close, the Australians could still bask in Perry's achievement, aided by the stubbornness of the lower order. Australia's highest profile player for a long time, she now has an achievement to rank with the game's titans.
"It was fun. I think that's probably the best way to describe it," Perry said after the day's play. "I had an amazing time out there today batting with all the girls and just taking in what was such a special day in terms of the crowd attendance, it being the pink day three and just a really great event for women's cricket. Really nice to be out there for the day and I had a lot of fun.
"I owe Schutter a lot, she did a great job, but I kind of felt like well it's already happened once so I'm not particularly fazed what happens after it. Whether I got a fake 200 or a real one didn't really matter at that stage. Really nice in that last session to score in the manner we did. We took 70 runs or so off 13 or 14 overs and had a bit of a lull leading into dinner break.
"I suppose I've thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences I've had at this level of cricket. Initially, [I] got an opportunity in the bowling ranks and that was really great and I loved it but I guess growing up I've always batted and always loved batting. [I've] spent a lot of hours in the nets with my dad who has thrown over a million balls to me in his life. The way I like to play cricket is to do both and it keeps you involved and I have had a number of years in the side now and have had a chance to progress and develop and make the most of some opportunities that have gone my way and great to have that chance today and make the most of it."
Perry, who now owns the second highest score by an Australian woman in an international match, behind Belinda Clark's unbeaten 229 at the 1997 World Cup, spoke of the team significance of the innings, not only for this match but also the growth of the women's game overall.
"I think we've certainly got the upper hand now. [It] took a lot of hard work to get that today," she said. "I think it ebbed and flowed a lot throughout the day, especially the way England bowled and set their fields it was hard at times to score runs. Now we've got that lead, would have been really nice to take some wickets tonight but they've got a long day of batting ahead.
"[The] wicket is starting to break up a bit, getting a bit slower, and I suppose the pressure is back on them. [It's] certainly in our hands to win but we've got a lot of hard work to do it.
"More than anything I think what's been the biggest thrill has been the people who have come to this match and the atmosphere that has been created. The people that are just enjoying the cricket. The amount of young kids I've seen the last few days and hung around for autographs late into the night, that's the biggest thrill I've had in my career."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig