While the second match in the series was notable for the brilliant all-round performance of White Fern Aimee Mason, who scored 102 and took 3-15, most attention was focussed on Sydney teenager Ellyse Perry, who at 16 years 261 days became the youngest Australian cricketer of all time.
Perry became the 109th woman to play one-day international cricket for Australia and made a confident start to her international career with 2-37 from eight overs - including the first wicket of the match – and a handy 19 with the bat in the lower order.
“The selectors recognised Ellyse as a talent and she’s showing everyone that here,” Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars coach Lisa Keightley said.
“She did all we could ask of her and had a really good game in her first international at 16. We couldn’t ask for much more from a player of that age.”
“It was very exciting and great fun,” Perry said of her debut.
“I was a little nervous before I am came on to bowl. It was good to get my first wicket because it gave me more confidence with my bowling and helped me to get through it,”
“It would have been great to get over the line today against the Kiwis but it was a good hit out. I’m a little disappointed with the way I got out, but it was good to bat with different girls.
“I’m looking forward to the next couple of matches so we can get up and beat New Zealand again and take the series. Whether I’m involved in that or not doesn’t really bother me. It’s just great to be here.”
Led by opener Mason, who made a career-high 102, the White Ferns recovered from yesterday’s disappointing batting effort and built their total throughout the middle overs of their innings.
Australia looked in control mid-way through their innings before quick wickets stalled the chase. They were eventually dismissed for 174 in the 46th over to allow New Zealand to draw level in the five-match series.
“Once again we got off to a good start but we just need someone in the top four to go on and get a score and that’s not happening at the moment,” Keightley said.
“Then we’re losing wickets in the middle session and coming to a halt, so hopefully we can rectify that in the next game and get the middle order right.”
After winning the toss and electing to bat, New Zealand navigated the opening overs without trouble before Perry was introduced into the attack in the ninth over and rewarded Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars captain Karen Rolton soon after with her first international victim after sneaking through the defences of Maria Fahey.
She then settled into a good rhythm and hurried the New Zealand batters with good pace and control. If not for a dropped catch and a confident LBW appeal that was turned down, her bowling figures could have been even more impressive.
In the chase for quick runs late in their innings, New Zealand lost a steady flow of wickets to be all out for 209 off the final ball.
Australia’s bowlers again shared the wickets with Emma Sampson (2-23), Perry (2-37), Shelley Nitschke (2-40) and Lisa Sthalekar (1-25) making important contributions.
All of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars top order made starts but none were able to anchor the innings as Mason had done earlier in the day.
The run chase was on target midway through the innings however, with Rolton and vice captain Sthalekar scoring at the required rate, but the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars lost 3-12 off the next eight overs to hand New Zealand the initiative.
Sthalekar was run out for 24 and then Alex Blackwell and Sarah Edwards were dismissed cheaply to leave the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars needing to score at more than six runs per over in the final stages.
New Zealand continued to press their advantage and Jodie Purves, who looked dangerous until holing out to Beth McNeill at square leg, was dismissed to leave the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ lower order exposed.
Purves’ exit brought Perry to the crease to partner Sarah Andrews with Australia languishing at 7/140 in the 39th over.
Despite some controlled batting by Perry late in the innings, Australia was eventually dismissed for 174.
The third one-day international in the Rose Bowl Series will be held on Wednesday 25 July. Play starts at 10.00am at Gardens Oval in Darwin and entry is free.
The full scoreboard from today’s match is available on Cricket Australia’s website, www.cricket.com.au. Cricket.com.au is providing live scores of all matches throughout the series.