Healy heartbreak as Aussie skipper falls on 99

Alyssa Healy has fallen one run short of a maiden Test century for Australia after producing a captain's knock against South Africa.

Healy heartbreak as Aussie skipper falls on 99

It was a matter of so close, yet so far for Alyssa Healy on Thursday. 

On a seemingly treacherous batting deck at the WACA on the opening day, the Australian captain proved to be the difference against South Africa with a captain's knock in the lone Test match of the multi-format series.

Arriving at the crease with the hosts reeling at 3-12 against the Proteas, the 33-year-old played a remarkable counter-attacking innings - but she fell agonisingly short of reaching triple figures after a crucial error in the final session.

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With a career milestone within her grasp, Healy was caught-and-bowled by spinner Delmari Tucker for 99 off 124 deliveries, missing out on what would have been her first century in red-ball international cricket, in a bitter-sweet moment.

"You can hardly believe it ... She hadn't played a false shot all day," Rachael Haynes said on Fox Cricket.

"She's just tried to force that to the leg side."

Healy was well supported by opening batter Beth Mooney (78) and Annabel Sutherland (54 not out) at the crease for the Aussies in tough conditions, but will undoubtedly be kicking herself after throwing away a slice of history.

The innings didn't get off to the greatest of starts however, with both Phoebe Litchfield (4) and Ellyse Perry (3) falling cheaply, before Tahlia McGrath was dismissed for a duck as Masabata Klaas (3-39) tore through the top order.Perry falls amid early Aussie collapse

Earlier in the day, South Africa was rolled for just 76 runs in the 32nd over after a dismal batting display, with the hosts taking eight wickets in the first session.

Darcie Brown (5-21) was the pick of the bowlers for Australia, while star all-rounder Sutherland (3-19) showed her class with both bat and ball. 

Australia will resume on day two at 2-251, giving the hosts a lead of 175 runs in the first innings and putting them in a commanding position to win the Test.