Ellyse Perry's 7 for 22 in the third women's Ashes ODI in Canterbury - the best figures by an Australian woman in the format - really began to take shape in the series opener last Tuesday. Perry struck with her second ball, returning match figures of 3 for 43, and followed it up with 1 for 40 in the next game, setting herself up for the Sunday blockbuster in the third and final ODI of the multi-format Ashes.
Ten overs, four of them maidens - there were 49 dot balls overall - from Perry proved too much for England, who rolled over for 75 in a chase of 270. Along the way, she bested current assistant coach and former Australia allrounder Shelley Nitschke's 7 for 42, from August 2005. It was also the ground where, in the 2015 Ashes Test, Perry had bowled a match-winning spell of 6 for 32 on the fourth day to return match figures of 9 for 70.
This one helped Australia get a 6-0 lead on the points table.
"You can call me what you like, but I'm not sure that's the case," Perry laughed when asked, after the match, if she considered herself the best allrounder in the game. "I honestly think today just went my way, which is nice, but across the series there has been some great performances. For us to start [the Ashes] the way that we have, and be six points clear, is the absolute dream start so all of us are really chuffed and myself especially."
Consistently clocking upwards of 70mph through the three ODIs, capitalising on the movement on offer, and often punishing the largely inconsistent England top five, Perry chipped away at the opposition line-up with an unbroken seven-over opening spell that fetched her an ODI best of 5 for 18. The pick of that haul - Sarah Taylor's wicket - came via an incisive outswinger that rose late after landing, leaving Taylor in two minds with her footwork and eliciting a feather.
"Fortunately I've played here [at the St Lawrence Ground] before," Perry said at the post-match presentation. "The slope works really well for us, so it was nice to attack the stumps and let it swing down the hill a bit."
Before snaring her sixth and seventh wickets - Anya Shrubsole and Sophie Ecclestone respectively - in her second and final spell starting in the 19th over, Perry had Amy Jones spoon one to substitute Nicola Carey at mid-on for her first wicket. The dismissal meant Jones, featuring in the line-up as a specialist batsman and not designated wicketkeeper in the presence of Sarah Taylor, with ODI scores of 79, 54, 76, 91, 18 and 80 to her name since the Sri Lanka tour in March, fell to Perry for a third time in her opening over in as many games. Jones' scores in the series now read: 0, 5 and 0.
"I don't really think about Amy, to be honest. It is more about having some really clear plans about the way that we want to start," Perry said when asked about strategies for the England opener.
Perry attributed her success with the new ball to the work she has been doing with Australia's bowling coach Ben Sawyer, who joined the support staff in September last year, ahead of the home series against New Zealand, replacing Ashley Noffke. He is also the head coach at Sydney Sixers, the WBBL side that Perry plays for.
"Ben Sawyer has been absolutely brilliant since he came in to work with the group," Perry said. "I worked with him back home in Australia too - he is the head coach at the Sydney Sixers and I think that he has really helped develop a lot of our players."
Perry has shared pace-bowling duties with Megan Schutt and Delissa Kimmince so far this Ashes, and they have had their share of success with the new ball and in the middle overs.
"It seems like there is a real clarity in the way that Shooter [Schutt] comes out and bowls, and myself and then if Nic [Carey] or DK [Kimmince] or Tayla [Vlaeminck] are playing, everyone just knows their roles and that has been really nice," Perry said.
Now if the allrounder carries the batting form she showed glimpses of in her 62 in the second ODI into the upcoming Test in Taunton, starting July 18, an encore of her record-breaking 213 not out - the highest Test score by an Australian woman - from the 2017 Ashes Test might well be on the cards.