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Perry peaks in Ashes triumph

After dominating with both bat and ball, Australia's all-round superstar was a deserving Player of the Women's Ashes series

Ellyse Perry’s status as a star of the women’s game was established long before this Women’s Ashes series began in Taunton on July 21.

However, the 24-year-old’s performances with both bat and ball through the seven-match multi-format series have seen her claim her place in Women’s Ashes history.

With 264 runs at an average of 33 and 16 wickets at 13.43, Perry topped both the run-scoring and wicket-taking tables and was deservedly named the player of the series.

Incredibly, it is the second time Perry has managed the feat, also named the series' best player in 2013-14 after topping the runs table and finishing equal-first in the wickets alongside teammate Rene Ferrell. 

It was Perry’s performances with the bat in the three-match one-day international leg of the series that set the tone for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ first Ashes win on British soil since 2001.

She was named the player of that series with scores of 78, 48 and 67, and she also took three crucial top-order wickets. Her knock of 48 in Bristol ended a record run of seven consecutive ODI half-centuries, highlighting the advancement of her batting game.

Watch: Perry peaks again (restrictions apply)

While much has been made of Perry’s improvement with the bat – originally the weaker of her dual powers - she gave a timely reminder of her prowess with the ball in the one-off Test in Canterbury.

When Australia needed English wickets on the final day of the rain-affected Test, it was Perry who drove the Stars to victory with a career best 6-32 - the best bowling figures for the Southern Stars since Betty Wilson’s 6-28 in 1948.

Watch: Perry's six wickets (restrictions apply)

And having scored her maiden T20 fifty as an opener in the three-match series against Ireland that was slotted in after the Test, Perry made the move to the top of the order for the three T20s against England.

While the T20 leg was Perry’s least productive – as it was for many of her teammates, with England taking out the series 2-1 – she top-scored with 30 in the opening loss in Chelmsford before claiming the vital wickets of Lauren Winfield and Nicole Sciver in the second match, taking 2-13 as Australia successfully defended 7-107 and ensured they would take the Women’s Ashes home with them.

“I am probably especially pleased with the way I’ve bowled, because in the last couple of years I haven’t bowled that well,” Perry said.

“I worked hard in the off-season and did a lot of work with a strength trainer back in Canberra to make sure I was fit and strong enough to last this whole series.

“So from that point of view it’s really pleasing to be able to contribute and I probably bowled better than I have for the last couple of years.

“Looking at way England play, Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole really set tone for their team. I think it’s a great asset for them and really we’ve got that with our fast bowlers too.”

Watch: Lanning and Perry speak after final Ashes game

While Perry sat on top of the runs and wickets tables at the end of the Women’s Ashes, the performances of her teammates were a testament to the Stars’ depth.

When Australia were 5-99 in the first innings of the Test, Queensland allrounder Jess Jonassen produced a gritty 99 to rescue her team.

In the second ODI in Bristol, Southern Stars skipper Meg Lanning scored the only century of the Women’s Ashes to guide her team to a 63-run victory, and followed up with 85 in the next match.

Opening batter Nicole Bolton, who does not play in the T20 team, finished the highest average of either team – 34.50 – after consistent performances in the Test and ODIs.

With the ball, quick Megan Schutt’s 4-26 helped skittle England for 168 in the first innings of the Test, while fellow pace bowler Rene Farrell made the most of her opportunity in the series-deciding second T20 with a match-winning 3-17.

“That’s a real strength of our group, we’ve got a lot of depth and different people will step up at different times. That’s been a real key to our success over the last five years,” Lanning said.

2015 Women’s Ashes leading run-scorers

2015 Women’s Ashes leading wicket-takers