Alyssa Healy arrived at Hurstville Oval having endured what she described as a “pretty average” season.
By Sunday afternoon, she was well and truly back to her best.
The Australian wicketkeeper starred on both days as the Sydney Sixers secured top spot in the women’s Big Bash League with wins over Adelaide on Saturday and Sunday.
Healy smashed 106 from 66 balls on Saturday as the Sixers chased the Strikers’ 5-147. The 27-year-old started cautiously, scoring a run a ball from her first 25 deliveries. From there she exploded into life, taking only another nine balls to reach her half century before bringing up her ton in 60.
She was dismissed shortly after and received a standing ovation from the crowd of almost 1,000.
Healy told Fairfax Media she had finally heeded some timely advice.
"Everyone's been telling me all year to give myself some time to get into my innings and in the 13th game it finally paid off," Healy said.
"We started off a little bit slow but we knew that we've got such potency in our batting line-up that we could always catch up.
"They've got a really good new-ball attack. I'm sort of Schutter's [Megan Schutt's] bunny so I was watchful to her early and then waited for something that was in my zone that I could try and hit."
The Sixers completed a perfect weekend by winning the second match of the double-header on Sunday. This time Healy made 63 from just 52 balls as Sydney chased Adelaide’s 9-111. Healy’s 169 runs in her two innings at an average of 84.5 also helped propel the Sixers to the top of the table.
Sydney will meet Adelaide for the third time in seven days when they take on the Strikers, who slipped to fourth place by the end of the weekend, in their semi-final on Friday. The winners at the Adelaide Oval will take on the winner of the Sydney Thunder-Perth Scorchers semi-final in the decider.
A youthful crowd made its way to Hurstville Oval over the weekend, with Healy telling the Leader last week she hoped the profile of the women’s game continued to grow.
“It’s exciting to see the young girls come out and see a future in the game,” Healy said.
“It’s something I didn’t really see a couple of years back. Seeing that shift in the last 12 to 18 months has been really cool.”