Star allrounder Ellyse Perry is likely to take the new ball for Australia in the pink-ball day-night Test against India starting on Thursday, despite disappointing outings during the ODIs.
Perry went wicketless across the three matches conceding 103 from 14 overs including 26 wides. She did have a couple of edges fail to go to hand in the third ODI in Mackay but bowled no more than five overs in any game and was not called upon at the death by her captain Meg Lanning with Australia under pressure as India pulled off a record chase.
Australia coach Matthew Mott hinted that Perry would still get the new ball on a grassy drop-in surface at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
"I think so," Mott said. "We haven't sat down for that final XI and who is going to be taking the new ball.
"She is swinging the ball, and that is a big thing. Wides have probably been her downfall and they are not as tough on those in a Test match. We're looking to take 20 wickets, so you don't want to waste the swinging ball. If she's doing that, she's probably going to get a pretty good opportunity at it."Mott explained that the 14-day quarantine prior to the series had been a factor in Perry's form with the ball and that she is addressing some of the alignment issues with long-time bowling mentor Ben Sawyer ahead of the Test match after struggling with her consistency against India's left-right opening combination of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana."I think you've got to keep perspective on these things," Mott said."She's certainly cognisant of what she needs to do. It's just a matter of time, we haven't really had time to drill it down in the nets. Ben Sawyer, the fast bowling coach, has had a lot of conversations with her. He knows her really well."They have worked on the alignment. It's more to the left-handers than anything, I think her bowling to the right-handers has been good and she's swinging the ball, so there's a lot to like about it. Obviously, in a Test match, she will be able to get in some big spells."She's really looking forward to the change of format. Clearly, with the bat, she's been a revelation in this format. So I think she goes in very excited about what's ahead of her."
Australia men's fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who is married to Alyssa Healy, has been travelling with the squad and was on hand at training on Tuesday, alongside Sawyer to provide advice to Australia's female fast bowling unit about utilising the pink ball.Mott revealed Perry had been an important contributor in the team meeting regarding batting plans for the day-night Test match, having scored an epic 213 in Australia's only other pink-ball Test against England at North Sydney Oval in 2017."Ellyse Perry spoke really well in our meeting about how she constructed her innings [in Sydney] and [conditions] varies so much," Mott said.
"That's what makes it so intriguing, the pink-ball Test. There are certain lulls in the game and you've got to hold as a bowling group and shut the scoreboard down."But when you get an opportunity to attack with the ball you've really got to make sure you get as many balls in the right area. And not necessarily just with pace, I think the spinners have been effective as well with the pink ball. For me, that's what makes it such an interesting, intriguing contest, you might think it's meandering along at some point, and then some wickets can fall in a cluster and open the game right up."Australia's last two Test matches have been draws with both matches not reaching the fourth innings. Mott said that he wanted his side to play with the same aggression as they do in 50-over cricket."Most of our philosophy around the Test match is that it's an extended one-day game," Mott said. "With our batting, [we] try and bat at a really good tempo and each player knows their role and plays within their parameters, so I think it's pretty much the way we're going to play is going to be an extended version of that."Looking at the way India set up, I don't think they will be any different. Their batting unit is quite aggressive. They'll come out and play some shots. I do think it's going to be a pretty open Test match. Whoever wins those key moments throughout, where you've got an opportunity to strike and try and get those 20 wickets, is going to come out on top."