Perry on course to play as specialist batter, says Lanning

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry is most likely to feature in the summit clash of the ICC Women's World Cup against England as a specialist batter, skipper Meg Lanning said on Saturday.

Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry in action.   -  Getty Images

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry is most likely to feature in the summit clash of the ICC Women's World Cup against England as a specialist batter, skipper Meg Lanning said on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Perry had missed Australia's previous two games, including the semifinal against West Indies, after she suffered back spasms in Australia's win against South Africa last week.

"Ellyse got through a pretty hard and high-intensity session yesterday and she's trained again today and is feeling pretty good," Lanning said at the pre-match press conference.

"It will just depend on how she pulls up sort of this afternoon, that will be the final hurdle she needs to get over. But at this stage, it is looking pretty good.

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"She can definitely play as a specialist bat and that's probably the most likely scenario. She hasn't bowled for a couple of weeks now and it would be difficult for her to come out and bowl in a final," she added.

However, Perry, who had been forced to miss Australia's T20 World Cup semifinal and final on home soil in 2020 due to a hamstring injury, has not bowled since suffering the back spasms.

"Ellyse is a world-class player and has shown that over a long period of time, particularly in this 50-over format. She averages 50 with the bat and has a great record with the ball as well.

"To have someone with that experience, someone who has performed on the big stage before hopefully to be part of our team is a huge boost." Australia are vying for a record-extending seventh title and Lanning is expecting her players to draw on their nerves as they look to steal England's crown.

"There are certainly some nerves around, it would be crazy if you weren't nervous heading into a World Cup final, so it's a good thing. But there's a lot of excitement.

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"It's a great opportunity for our team to go out on a big stage and play really good cricket and we feel like we've been building throughout the tournament." Australia have been the most consistent team in the tournament, winning all eight of their games, and Lanning is hoping for another complete performance in the showpiece.

"We know that it's going to be tough, England always provide a great contest. They've got some world-class players who can take the game away from you really quickly.

"It's going to be a massive challenge for us and certainly not going to be easy but we feel confident that if we can put up as close to our best as possible, then that'll give us a good chance." Lanning will be playing in her 100th ODI on Sunday.

"Both teams start on zero runs tomorrow and it's about putting out a really good performance and that's the challenge for our team."

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