Australia are optimistic Ellyse Perry will be fit for Sunday’s Rose Bowl decider after the superstar allrounder was cleared of any serious damage to her right elbow and successfully made it through training on Saturday afternoon.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars had feared the worst after Perry landed awkwardly on her right elbow while diving in an attempt to prevent a boundary off her own bowling in Thursday’s second one-day international.
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She was forced from the field for treatment and did not return, nor did she come out at her usual No.4 position – although she had been prepared to bat if needed.
Perry underwent scans on Friday which cleared the 26-year-old of any major damage and a decision was due to be made on her fitness for Sunday’s final ODI following Saturday’s training session at Mt Maunganui’s Bay Oval.
In good news for the Australian camp, Perry was able to bowl at full pace without any visible signs of pain before she spent a lengthy period batting in the Bay Oval nets.
“There’s obviously some injury concern with Ellyse but from what I’ve heard, it’s just a bruised elbow,” Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy said ahead of Saturday’s training session.
“Hopefully she’ll be alright and be out there on Sunday.
“She’s obviously a quality player who we like to have in our side, so fingers crossed she gets through training today.
“She’ll get assessed and hopefully she’ll be out on the field tomorrow.”
Both Perry and the Southern Stars will be desperately hoping the allrounder can play, with Australia needing to win the final ODI to continue their 17-year streak in Rose Bowl series.
Thursday’s match had marked Parry’s comeback after a six-week layoff due to a hamstring injury, with the allrounder bowling just four overs before injuring her elbow, taking 1-9 and securing the key wicket of White Ferns opener Rachael Priest.
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“She’s not the type of person who likes to side on the sidelines and not be a part of everything, so that’s got to be a bit frustrating for her,” Healy said.
However, Healy added Australia had drawn confidence from that fact they successfully chased 254 without Perry’s assistance on Thursday.
“She was going to bat if need be, but thankfully we didn’t need her," she said.
“That was a big confidence builder for us, I don’t think we’ve chased too well in games over the last period of time, so to chase 250 fairly comfortably was a really positive sign for us.”
There’s no hiding the fact Australia will be eager for Perry to perform with the bat on Sunday, however.
She was in strong form with the bat for the Sixers before her untimely hamstring injury in late January, scoring 384 runs in 13 innings at 38.40, and was simply outstanding during Australia’s ODI series against South Africa last November, named Player of the Series after scores of 93no, 95no, 69, 56 and taking seven wickets.
Should Perry be unavailable on Sunday, an opportunity would arise for one of the three bowlers who sat on the sidelines during the second ODI – pace pair Lauren Cheatle and Megan Schutt, or leg-spinner Kristen Beams.
The Rose Bowl decider will be streamed live and free on cricket.com.au or on the Cricket Live App thanks to New Zealand Cricket, from 9am AEDT on Sunday.