In its history of 86 years, Women’s Test cricket has witnessed many remarkable incidences. From a Ten wicket haul in a match including a hat-trick by Betty Wilson to Highest individual score by Kiren Baluch – to name a few. Though the number of multi-day cricket has decreased remarkably in recent times, that didn’t decrease the euphoria regarding it. The number of spectators in the last two Ashes depicts the story. In 2019, Ellyse Perry once again came to the front page for her batting brilliance when she struct two consecutive Test Centuries. But Perry is not the only cricketer to do so.
Women’s CricInsight look at those cricketers, preceding Ellyse Perry:
1. Betty Wilson (Australia)
100 vs England at Melbourne, 2nd Test, 2nd innings, Feb 21-24, 1958,
124 vs England at Adelaide, 3rd Test, 1st Innings, Mar 8-11, 1958
Australia had claimed the Ashes in 1948, and England has failed to clinch that in their backward in 1951. Seven years later, It was England’s 3rd tour to Australia, and they were determined to take back the Ashes with them. Their chance to win the Ashes was dependent on their all-rounder Merry Duggan. But to counter that Australia too had Betty Wilson.
The First Test of ‘The Ashes’ was called off due to the torrential rain at North Sydney Oval. In the 2nd test to the first day’s play was called off due to rain. In the rain-soaked morning, England skipper Merry Duggan won the toss to field first. She leads the attack from the front and took her career-best 7 wickets, conceded just 6 runs in her 14.5 overs. Australia was bold out on 38.
In reply, Betty Wilson with her off-spin destroyed the England batting line up and her 7/6 helped Australia to gain a lead of 3 runs. Her 7 wickets included a hattrick as well. In the 2nd innings, Australian batting crumbled again before Betty Wilson appeared for a rescue mission. She along with right-arm pacer Joyce Dalton added 80 runs for the 7th wicket and most of the runs came from Wilson.
She completed her half-century in 103 minutes and her next 50 came in just 63 minutes. Her 100 took Australia to 202 and at the same time gave Australia enough time to bundle England out. Though England lost 3 wickets in the last 20 minutes of play, Joan Wilkinson scored 5 in 87 minutes to save the test match.
In the next match, Australia batting first put on 292 runs in their first innings. Valma Batty and Betty Wilson added 135 runs for the 5 wickets to cross the 200 runs mark. Betty Wilson continued her touch from the previous test match. Wilson batted the entire day and remained not out on 106.
She became the first women cricketer to score Test centuries in consecutive innings. She added 18 more runs to her overnight score before ending her inning that lasted more than 10 hours. Later England gained a lead of 33 runs and the test ended on a draw.
2. Enid Bakewell (England)
124 vs New Zealand at Wellington, 1st Innings, 1st Test, Feb 15-18, 1969,
114 vs New Zealand at Christchurch, 1st Innings, 2nd Test, Mar 7-10, 1969
Bakewell, who made a century (113) in her debut match against Australia at the age of 28 had sidelined her career as a Physical Education teacher to play for her country. She was not allowed to take money for playing cricket so she had to sacrifice her livelihood to play cricket. And she justified her inclusion as she became the first English cricketer to score a hundred on test debut.
Her inclusion in the squad for the tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1968/9 meant a long separation from her two years old daughter. Apart from her century against Australia, she scored 375 runs and took 41 wickets in the first-class matches on that tour.
In the first test at Wellington, New Zealand skipper Patricia McKelvey won the toss and decided to bat first. Though there was rain on the previous day and the day remained overcast, the pitch was suitable to bat on. Based on McKealvey’s undefeated 155 New Zealand put up 302. Bakewell’s left-arm spin turns out to be fruitful on the wicket of Wellington as she took 5/40. She drifted the ball across the wicket with the breeze and it gripped and straightened sharply off the pitch.
In reply, Bakewell and Audrey Disbury started well on a green wicket and added 62 runs for the first wicket. In the lush green wicket, New Zealand dropped 6 chances of Enid Bakewell which proved to be costly, later. Despite the drop catches, and multiple rain interruption Bakewell completed her century in 222 minutes with 8 boundaries, before getting out to Jill Saulbrey. Enid ended her innings on 124 from and the late blast from the lower order bats took England total to 340.
The Test ended on a draw.
New Zealand chose to bat again on the 2nd test at Christchurch. This time they had a decent opening partnership and was 205/2 at tea. But their innings tumbled and on the 2nd day morning, they declared their innings on 282. Despite losing Audrey Disbury early England skipper Racheal Heyhoe Flint joined Enid Bakewell to consolidate the England innings.
Bakewell settled herself first and then started to increase the run rate. They needed to score faster to make New Zealand bat again. Enid Bakewell completed her half-century in just 87 minutes with 4 boundaries. Apart from the boundaries, she pushed the balls in the vacant region to ran quickly and collected 3 runs 5 times. Both Bakewell and Heyhoe Flint and took run to 127 before lunch on day 2.
Like the first test, New Zealand again dropped Bakewell just before lunch at mid-off on 71 and Enid never looked back from there. Enid Bakewell completed her 2nd hundred of the series and became the first English cricketer to score two consecutive century in Test innings. Bakewell ended her innings on 114 and England declared their inning on 296/7 in 299 minutes. They gain a lead of 14 runs.
Enid Bakewell took 5/56 to restrict New Zealand on 186. Bakewell maintained her momentum to score an unbeaten 66 taking her tally to 304 runs in 3 innings. Bakewell secured the victory with a four and guided England to their first victory against New Zealand since 1954. Enid Bakewell ended her maiden overseas tour with 970 first-class runs in 25 innings with 3 centuries and 98 wickets.
3. Claire Taylor (England)
177 vs South Africa at Shenley, 1st Innings, 1st Test, Aug 7-10, 2003
131 vs South Africa at Taunton, 1st Innings, 2nd Test, Aug 20-22, 2003
After the 2000 World Cup, Taylor wanted to focus on her desire to become one of the best batsmen in the world so decided to become a full-time cricketer. To give more effort towards cricket she left her job at an IT company which used to fetch her an annual earning of £38,000 as an IT assistant manager at the company. Despite scoring a century against Australia at Leeds, two years back Clair Taylor didn’t match the expectations in the longest format of the game.
Before the series against South Africa, she had only one 50+ score which she turned into a century. She performed well in the ODI series with a 51 and unbeaten 46 and hoped to continue her touch in the test series as well. South Africa who was playing against England after 42 years, put up a total of 316 based on a record-breaking partnership of 138 for the 5th wicket. Charlize van der Westhuizen (83) and 14 years old Johmari Logtenberg (74) rescued their team from 57/4.
In reply, England lost two early wickets. But wicket-keeper Claire Taylor and skipper Clare Connor engaged themselves in rescue operations. At the end of 2nd days play England was 107 runs behind and Taylor was batting on 89 from 160 balls. She has completed the half-century with 12 boundaries and took the team on a commanding position. The next day, Taylor completed her 2nd century, in 35 more balls from the overnight score.
She batted with immense patience while battling not only the south African attack but also with the humid condition. Before Logtenberg got her wicket, her contribution was 177 runs from 287 balls with 22 boundaries. Her partnership for the 3rd and 4th wickets helped England to take a lead of 181 runs. Though England tried their best to clean up the Proteas batting, the South African skipper batted for 4 hours for her gutsy 95 to save the test match. South Africa survived 20 more overs after their skipper missed her century by 5 runs, to go to Taunton with the series standing in 0-0.
In the 2nd Test at Taunton, South Africa failed to replicate their show from the first test and got bundled out on 130. England again lost both of their openers on 60. Claire Taylor who made 177 in her previous innings was joined by Lydia Greenway to take the lead. Taunton has traditionally offered runs to the batters and Taylor made full use of it. She hit back to back boundaries to completed her 2nd century of the series and thus became the 3rd player and 2nd English cricketer after Enid Bakewell to score centuries in consecutive test innings. England took the lead of 325 runs and later beat South Africa by an innings and 96 runs.
4. Ellyse Perry (Australia)
213* vs England at Sidney, Only Test, 1st Innings, Nov 9-12, 2017
116 vs England at Taunton, Only Test, 1st Innings, Jul 18-21, 2019
With the victory over England in the ODI series, Australia took a clear 2 point lead in the multi-format Ashes in 2017. That was a morale booster for Australia who had defeated England, the new World Champions, a couple of months ago. Their full-time captain Meg Lanning missed the Ashes for a shoulder injury and Rachael Haynes did her work reasonably well. Winning the toss, England skipper Heather Knight decided to bat first. Australia based on all efforts from their bowler bundled England out on 280.
Australia was not in a very commanding position either. They lost both the openers on 54 and Alex Blackwell was joined by Ellyse Perry. Though Blackwell didn’t stay long in the middle, Perry along with Elyse Villani fought through the overs. Both of them added 32 runs for the 5th wicket. Perry who started slowly regained her confidence with every passing ball. It was the first ball of the 75th over and Eccleston who had picked up 2 wickets till then was brought into the attack.
The ball from the left-arm spinner pitched on the middle and leg stump and was moving away from Perry. Perry got down into her knees and swept the ball firmly through the fine leg region to reach her half-century. Her next fifty came at a rather brisk pace (82 balls). Perry completed her century through a four to covers off the bowling of leg spinner Laura Marsh. Australia threw everything they had at Perry. They used spinners from both ends, they out defensive fields to stop the run flow but nothing seemed to affect Perry.
She completed her 150 and with Tahlia McGrath added 103 runs for the 7th wicket which helped Australia to take a lead of 90 runs. As she was running out of Partners, on the other hand, Perry decided to take the attack to the opposition. Ellyse Perry was only 9 runs away from her maiden double century when Amanda Wellington fell to Sophie Eccleston as the 9th Australian wicket. Megan Schutt came in and survived the last three balls from the over. In the next over, both Schutt and Perry took a single each while Perry stepped down the track to hit the 3rd ball of the over through long-on.
The ball landed just before the boundary rope. As the spectators singled Six from the stands, Perry raised the bat to receive the acknowledge from her teammates. But the umpires went upstairs for the conformation and Sarah Taylor, known for her wit, kept her hand on Perry’s shoulder and said, “I think the ball dropped before the boundary.” The umpires confirmed Taylor’s claim and, Perry put her helmet on to finish her job.
Ecclestone came to bowl the 165th over the innings. Perry defended the first two ball and hit the 3rd ball of the over straight past the umpire for four to complete her double hundred. A four and six in the next two balls meant Perry took her score to 213 before declaring the Australian innings at 448/9. It was highest by any Australian Woman in a Test match and 3rd highest Individual score after Kiran Baluch (242) and Mithali Raj (219). Later, an unbeaten 79 from skipper Heather Knight saved the Test match.
Two years later, Meg Lanning reclaimed her captaincy and, Australia took 6 points to lead over England after the ODI series. Perry was in brilliant form with the ball and had claimed 7/22 in the last ODI to hand England their largest defeat. Australia, winning the toss didn’t hesitate to bat first. The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton has historically been produced great batting surfaces. Despite losing Bolton’s early Australian top order added 91 runs to prepare the stage for Perry.
Ellyse Perry who has created a test record in her earlier outing with the bat didn’t disappoint her fans in this test innings also. She again took her time to get settled and once she did, there was no looking back for her. She finds the gaps with ease and never hesitated to send the bad balls to the boundaries. She treated the full tosses from Kirsten Gordon with disdain while pulled the short of a length ball from Anya Shrubsole towards square leg to bring up her half-century.
Her unbeaten 84 put Australia in the commanding position at the end of Day 1 of the test. Perry added 32 more runs to her overnight score. She paced her innings with calmness, and both of her boundaries in the morning session of the 2nd day’s play was eye soothing- a perfectly placed punch through the covers as Shrubsole offered a hint of width, before leaning on an effortless on-drive to ease Nat Sciver through long-on.
Ellyse Perry brings up her 2nd century in as many innings while amassing a women’s Test record of 329 runs between dismissals. Perry’s vigil had ended as she stepped down the wicket off the bowling of Laura Marsh, only to give a simple to catch to English skipper Heather Knight at mid-wicket. The match was curtailed, due to rain. But Perry remained not out on 76 in the 2nd innings as well. Ellyse Perry became the player of the match for 192 runs.