11:13 PM ET
Daniel BrettigAssistant editor, ESPNcricinfo
- Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel’s chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth – a rare Australian victory that summer.
Ellyse Perry, who has been aiming to return from major hamstring surgery, has been ruled out of the remainder of Australia’s limited overs series against New Zealand – not that the team’s performances in the opening two T20Is indicated she would be needed anyway.
The world’s best allrounder, Perry suffered from hamstring tightness after running drills as she reached the final stages of her return from an injury that kept her out of the closing stages of the T20 World Cup back in March.
She will now aim to make her return to playing for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL next month. Australia’ captain Meg Lanning said that Perry would remain with the squad to continue her rehab work, ahead of the third T20I in Brisbane on Wednesday, which will be followed by three ODI fixtures.
“Unfortunately she had some hamstring awareness and has got a low grade strain, so she won’t be available for the rest of this series,” Lanning said. “She’ll remain with the team to continue her rehab and training in the hope of being available at some point during the WBBL. So she won’t be playing any part in this series. It’s the same hamstring but a different muscle within the hamstring. It’s on the minor end, so hopefully doesn’t delay it too much.
“It was just during a running session at training that she was doing, she was progressing through her plan, so unfortunate that it’s happened but it’s on the minor end and she’s doing everything she can to be able to make herself available.
“I think she’s doing everything she can to be available as soon as possible, it’s a very complex injury, and hard to get the timing on when certain things will happen. So hopefully at some point, she’s doing the best she can and it’s really important to get it right and take the time before we do put her out on the field. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later, but we’ll just have to see how it pans out.”
In beating New Zealand comfortably in both the opening two matches on Saturday and Sunday, Lanning’s team showcased impressive depth, not only to cover Perry but also to find bowling and batting options from beyond the likes of Megan Schutt, Jess Jonassen, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney. Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Delissa Kimmince and Nicola Carey have all shone at various times, adapting nicely to the slow and sometimes spinning Allan Border Field.
“I think we’ve developed that over a period of time, we don’t rely on one or two players and as we saw in the first game, Ash Gardner was able to step up and make a winning contribution, so that gives us a lot of confidence that if your top order with the bat for example doesn’t fire, that we’ve still got real depth to be able to get us over the line,” Lanning said. “Even when things don’t go our way the whole game, we’re able to fight through and I think it’s a really important quality to have.
“At different times throughout the first two games, people have stepped up and contributed but we don’t feel like we’ve played our best game yet, still a fair bit to work on with both bat and ball, which is really exciting for this group. New Zealand are going to come back hard at us, they’ve got some real match winners within their side, so we do need to step it up again and hopefully we see that tomorrow.
“With the bat we don’t rely on one or two players and I think with the ball as well we’ve developed that real depth. Delissa Kimmince has been great for us over the last few years, and Sophie Molineux, a young player coming through, is very calm under pressure and certainly for me it’s nice to be able to go to her at different points. The other one who hasn’t bowled a lot of overs in the series, Nic Carey has really bowled some important overs and it’s not easy sometimes to come on and bowl one or two overs at critical points, but I think she’s done an excellent job.”
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Australia’s cricketers have exhibited plenty of drive to improve and over the next 12 to 18 months have a clear goal in terms of regaining the ODI World Cup after falling short in England in 2017 when eliminated by India in the semi-finals.
“As a group what we have spoken about is continuing to improve and get better, because if we don’t do that, teams will catch up pretty quick and there’s a lot of really good teams out there who are trying to push the boundaries and become better as well,” Lanning said. “We can’t stand still and expect to keep performing and dominating, we need to keep improving our side.
“I think we’ve done that by bringing people in, but also those players who’ve been in for a period of time who improved their games – Alyssa Healy speaking about some shots she’s introduced to her game. The drive for us to get better is still there, which is great to see, especially given the success we’ve had over the last few years. So we need to keep getting better and we’ve got a year now to continue to do that before we get to 2022, which is going to be massive for us. So it’s really exciting that’s ahead of us.”
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