Healy, Brown thrive in heat as skipper joins unique club

Australia captain Alyssa Healy stepped up for her side on day one at the WACA, as she became the 12th member of an unwanted group

Alyssa Healy missed a chance to join one of cricket’s most exclusive clubs on Thursday – instead finding herself in another, far less desirable cohort.

Healy fell one run short of becoming the first Australian woman to score a century in all three formats when she was caught on 99 on the stroke of stumps on the opening day of the WACA Test.

She is the fourth Australian woman to be dismissed for 99 in a Test, joining current teammates Jess Jonassen and Ellyse Perry and former captain Jill Kennare.

Healy is also the 12th player overall to have a current career high score of 99 in the format – coincidentally, her husband, Mitchell Starc, is also among that number.

"We were all a bit devo for her, but at the end of the day it’s just one run," Australia quick Darcie Brown told reporters after play. 

"She dug us out of that hole we were in early and batted so well, so we’re all really proud of her."

The hundred went begging but Healy’s innings was a testament to the 33-year-old’s physical and mental strength, as she spent more than 80 overs on the field during a day where the mercury in Perth hit 43 degrees Celsius. 

She rescued Australia from peril at 3-12, saw off a brilliant new-ball spell from Masabata Klaas and sharing in a 155-run partnership with Beth Mooney, put the hosts in a position of strength by stumps. 

Healy leads the way with classy captain's knock

"We’re in a great position but got to admit, it was a bit flattening to see Midge get out then," Beth Mooney told ABC radio at stumps.

"We all would have been really pumped if she managed to get three figures.

"I thought South Africa actually bowled pretty well up front, they asked a lot of questions and we were a little bit ill-disciplined early on."

While the Australian dugout missed the chance to celebrate a Healy century on Thursday, they did get treated to a superb display of fast bowling from Brown.

Recalled after being omitted for Australia’s last Test in India last December, Brown tore through South Africa to finish with figures of 5-21.

Brown leads rout of Proteas with maiden five-wicket haul

She was the first Australian woman to take a five-wicket haul on home soil since Ellyse Perry bagged five against England in 2014 – also at the WACA Ground.

Brown looked a touch uncomfortable with the attention when she bashfully raised the ball towards the crowd in acknowledgement after taking her fifth wicket to end the Proteas’ innings on 76, but later admitted it had been a special moment. 

"It's really nice to (play on) a bowler friendly wicket and to have a few pacies in our line-up was really nice," Brown said after play. 

"Being a bowler, you dream of playing at the WACA."

Better yet, she said, was the moment where she stood at the top of her mark and was presented with a packed slips cordon.

"I had a moment where I was like, ‘This is so cool’," she continued. 

"Looking at all the slips, I’ve never bowled with a 7-2 field … I saw that and it was like I was watching on the TV, really."

Women's CommBank T20I Series v South Africa

First T20: Australia won by eight wickets

Second T20: South Africa won by six wickets

Third T20: Australia win by five wickets

Women's CommBank ODI Series v South Africa

First ODI: Australia won by eight wickets

February 7: South Africa won by 84 runs

February 10: Australia won by 110 runs (DLS method)

Women's CommBank Test Match v South Africa

February 15-18: Only Test, WACA Ground, Perth 11.00am

Australia Test squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

South Africa Test squad: Laura Wolvaardt, Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Mieke de Ridder, Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Chloé Tryon, Delmi Tucker