Alyssa Healy
Alyssa Healy dominated at the crease but was out for 99 in the Perth Test against South Africa. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Healy out for 99 as Australia dominate South Africa

Justin Chadwick February 15, 2024

Captain courageous Alyssa Healy has suffered the heartbreak of being dismissed for 99, but Australia still ended the opening day of the women’s Test against South Africa in complete control.

After losing the toss and being sent in to bat, South Africa were skittled for a record-low 76 in 31.2 overs after emerging pace star Darcie Brown (5-21) ran rampant at the WACA Ground in Perth on Thursday.

In reply, Australia crashed to 3-12 before Healy (99 off 124 balls) and Beth Mooney (78 off 109 balls) came to the rescue.

Beth Mooney
 Beth Mooney helped Australia recover from early wickets in the Perth Test against South Africa. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

Australia went to stumps on day one at 5-251 – an overall lead of 175 – with Annabel Sutherland (54no) and Ashleigh Gardner (yet to score) at the crease.

South Africa, playing just their second Test since 2014, were dealt a devastating blow before play on Thursday when star allrounder Marizanne Kapp was ruled out with illness.

Brown and Sutherland (3-19) snared career-best figures in the 42-degree Perth heat to dismiss South Africa for 76.

It marked South Africa’s lowest score in women’s Test cricket, failing to better the 89 they posted against New Zealand in Durban in 1972.

Brown claimed the final wicket of the innings just 10 minutes after lunch, ripping one into the leg stump of Ayanda Hlubi.

Australian bowler Darcie Brown
 Australian bowler Darcie Brown has taken career-best figures against South Africa in Perth. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

The 20-year-old Australian, who had taken just three wickets across her three Tests leading into this week’s match, raised the ball in the air to acknowledge the crowd as she walked off the field.

South Africa pace bowler Masabata Klaas (3-39) snared the key scalps of Phoebe Litchfield (4), Ellyse Perry (3) and Tahlia McGrath (0) in quick succession as Australia crashed to 3-12.

But a 155-run partnership between Healy and Mooney effectively put the contest to bed, with South Africa now requiring a near miracle to snare the win they need to draw the multi-format series.

Healy was on track to post her maiden Test ton, which would have given her an international century in all three formats of the game.

But just four minutes before stumps, Healy’s attempt to nudge a single down the leg side to bring up triple figures instead gave Delmi Tucker a return catch.

Healy was in disbelief as she trudged off the ground, with her 200-minute innings ending one run short of glory.

“We were all a bit ‘devo’ for her,” Brown said.

“At the end of the day it was just one run. 

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

Kapp had played a key role in helping South Africa nab a win in both the ODI and T20 formats against Australia during the current multi-format series.

Although Australia won both the T20 and ODI components 2-1, it was hoped a Kapp-inspired South Africa would provide a stern challenge in the four-day Test.

It wasn’t to be.

Healy and Mooney both dropped catches in the opening few overs, but it didn’t cost Australia any runs as Brown removed South Africa’s openers Laura Wolvaardt and Anneke Bosch cheaply.

Brown had figures of 2-1 at that stage, with South Africa in early trouble at 2-5.

Tazmin Brits (five off 48 balls) helped stem the tide with a painfully slow innings, with Sune Luus (26) also helping launch a mini recovery.

But two wickets in as many balls from Sutherland sparked a collapse of 6-17 as the visitors slumped from 2-33 to 8-50, vindicating Australia’s decision to bowl first on the green-tinged wicket.