It’s scary to think, but the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ champion allrounder Ellyse Perry says she can get better. A lot.
Perry was the star on the final day of the Ashes Test, driving Australia to victory with a career best 6-32 - the best bowling figures for the Southern Stars since Betty Wilson’s 6-28 in 1948.
Replay: Watch Ellyse Perry's six wickets
The 24-year-old entered the Test fresh off being named the player of the series in the three-match one-day international leg of the multi-format Ashes with scores of 78, 48 and 67, while also taking three top-order wickets.
That 48 in Bristol ended a record run of consecutive ODI half-centuries at seven, revealing the accelerated advancement of her batting game which has been for the majority of her career the blunter surface of her double-edged sword.
While her batting has taken much of the spotlight in recent times, on Friday Perry reminded everybody, most especially the English women, that her bowling is also just as sharp as her willow work, but in more subtle ways.
Consistent Perry peaks again
“Getting older and little bit stronger and technically and tactically figuring out my game a little bit more has certainly helped,” Perry told cricket.com.au when asked how her bowling has developed since bursting on to the international scene at the tender age of 16 in 2007.
“From a batting point of view as well, but certainly with my bowling just having that control and being able to bowl the ball where you want to, picking up cues from batters are probably only things you learn and develop over a number of years.
“It’s been a really great learning curve for me working with a number of different people to really figure out what works best for me.
“I still feel like I can improve a lot, in a lot of areas. I certainly feel more comfortable as a bowler than when I first started.”
Perry’s impact is not lost on the leaders of the Southern Stars.
Stars captain Meg Lanning was full of praise for her go-to bowler, who says Perry steeled herself after underperforming with the bat for the first time in the series.
Ellyse Perry almost completes hat-trick
“She was really disappointed yesterday when she got out,” Lanning said.
“That’s the beauty of being an allrounder, you can come back and strike with the ball.
“I thought she did a fantastic job bowling from the top end here (The Spitfire Ground) which really suited her targeting the stumps a lot.
“And with the variable bounce there that was the real key way to go.
“She’s bowled well throughout the whole series. She’s been a main strike bowler for us.
“It’s very good to have someone in your team that can go out there and make runs but also strike with the ball.”
Extended highlights: Southern Stars thrash England
Australia coach Matthew Mott echoed Lanning’s words, but says the dual failures with the bat may have worked in the Stars favour in the long run.
“She’s an amazing cricketer,” Mott told cricket.com.au.
“Meg Lanning said the other day she’d play in the team as a batter or bowler.
“That’s the true definition of a genuine allrounder, and she’s a great fielder to go with it.
“The fact that she missed out with the bat in this game kept her fresh. We tried not to over-bowl her.
“She bowled at the critical points and every time she had the ball she looked dangerous swinging it and bashing the right lengths.
“It was very good to watch.”
The road to Ashes success
Perry and her Southern Stars teammates now head to Ireland to play three T20 internationals before returning to England for a replica series in which Australia need to win only one game to regain the Ashes.
And as we’ve seen throughout this campaign, the Sydneysider is getting better with each match in Australian colours.
Who knows how good she’ll be when she comes back from the Emerald Isle.