With the new Sheffield Shield structure a full round of 3 games are played simultaneously. Here’s what happened:
Tasmania successfully chased down 295 to win against NSW thanks mainly to 132 to No 3 Alex Doolan – his 6th First Class hundred. The Tigers did their best to lose the game losing 6/23 triggered by Doolan’s dismissal but Clive Rose calmly saw them over the line. Some consolation for NSW was taking first innings points.
Victoria had the upper hand against Western Australia at the MCG but couldn’t convert it into an outright victory due to the fighting qualities of Marcus North who batted the whole day for 118* to deny the Vics six points.
Queensland took first innings points against South Australia in Adelaide and threatened to snatch an unlikely outright victory when leg spinner Cameron Boyce took 7/68 in the second to have SA teetering. The Redbacks steadied and the game ended in a draw.
A virus swept through the Queensland team forcing skipper James Hopes to withdraw from the side before the match and affected Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Greg Moller, Chris Hartley, who didn’t keep after lunch on the first day and Ryan Harris, who didn’t bowl on the final day instead fielding at his standard position of first slip.
Queensland coach Stuart Law wasn’t sure onthe specific of the virus “Who knows what it is … the doctor here doesn’t know what it is”
“About 3 o’clock this morning he [Forrest] started, it was coming out of both ends – there is no pretty way to say it.”
So bad was the situation on the first day that the visiting PNG cricket team had to be roped in to sub field for Queensland.
The Robson Rule
Cricket Australia relaxed conditions for dual Australia and UK passport holders to play domestic cricket in both Australia and England as a local. The plan was aimed at Sydney born UK passport holder Sam Robson who couldn’t force his way into the NSW side so used his UK passport to play for Middlesex and has been performing handsomely as an opening batsmen on the county cricket circuit and qualifying to play for England. Cricket Australia were desperate not to lose such a batting talent to the Old Enemy hence the Robson Rule.
The beneficiaries? Well so far there are no signs of Robson joining NSW or any other state but one of Justin Langer’s favourites, fast bowler Michael Hogan has ‘unretired’ for Western Australia after leaving at the end of last season to play on a British passport for county side Glamorgan.
Slightly more obscure is Jim Allenby who played in the tour match for the WA Chairman’s XI against the touring England team. Allrounder Allenby’s stated ambition is to play for England – despite growing up in Perth, the 31 year old has lived and played in England since 2003 save for one T20 appearance for WA in 2007. It will be interesting to see if he makes any appearances for WA this summer – his experience could be very handy.
No sign of Sussex/Western Australia fast bowler Steve Magoffin, who offered his services to Australia prior to the Ashes in England, making use of the Robinson Rule.
Structure and spinners
It was interesting to note most Shield teams had their keeper batting at No 6 plus 5 bowlers. Victoria had Matthew Wade bat at No 5 and South Australia preferred all rounder Johan Botha at 6 and keeper Tim Ludeman at No 7.
The five bowlers included two spinners for three states: Queenslanld Cameron Boyce and Nathan Hauritz, South Australia had leg spinner Adam Zampa and Johan Botha, NSW had Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe.
It was almost like their had been a Cricket Australia directive to the states to structure Shield teams in this way (wicket keeper in the top 6 and 5 bowlers) and give more opportunities to spinners by playing two. Maybe that explains why Victoria’s coach, Greg Shipperd, was in the press complaining about wanting to let the 12th man bowl so he could have Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland both bowl for Victoria.
Jon Holland didn’t end up playing for Victoria this week but next week will play for Australia A. Hmmm. Instead Greg Shipperd opted for two medium pace all rounders Dan Christian and John Hastings at No 7 and No 8 in Victoria’s line up. Due their similarities I really don’t think there is room for both of them in a four day team.
Ryan Carters moved to NSW in the off season after falling behind Matthew Wade and Peter Handscomb at Victoria. Peter Nevill was NSW preferred keeper in the Ryobi Cup but injured his hamstring so Carters was called up for the first round of the Sheffield Shield.
Ashton Agar played for WA while Michael Beer captained the WA Chairman’s XI against England. It will be interesting to see how WA manage two spinners. Agar only maid his debut for WA in January last season (and made the Shield team of the year!) after Beer had suffered a season ending knee injury.
The Shield XI of the round
A century or a five-for should see you make the Shield team of the week.
1. Marcus North (WA)
Scored 118* in his new role as opener. North shepherded an inexperienced WA batting line up in a gritty rearguard action that secured the Warriors a draw.
2. Chris Lynn (QLD)
Dropped from the Queensland line up from the Ryobi Cup final as Joe Burns and Peter Forrest were preferred for the four day format, Lynn was sent to bolster the WA Chairman’s XI against England. Batting a No 3 Lynn peeled off a century against an attack featuring James Anderson and Chris Tremlett.
3. Alex Doolan (TAS)
A match turning 132 in the final innings of the match against NSW which allowed Tasmania to chase down 295 on the last day.
4. Tom Cooper (SA)
Scored 171 in the first innings against Queensland in South Australia’s total of 387. Cooper scored 44% of South Australia’s runs in that innings.
5. Peter Forrest (QLD)
Returned to some form with 129 off 264 balls that secured Queensland first innings points despite battling the stomach virus that afflicted the Queensland team
6. Chris Hartley + (QLD)
Also battled the Queensland virus in making 89 in a 194 run partnership with Forrest that delivered Queensland first inning points.
7. Cameron White (VIC)
Edged out Johan Botha for the allrounders spot with a pair of half centuries and 4/38 to rattle WA on the last day.
8. Sam Rainbird (TAS)
Second game Tasmanian fast bowler Rainbird took 6/68 in NSW’s first innings including the wickets of Michael Clarke and Steve Smith.
9. Doug Bollinger (NSW)
The affable left arm quick was in vintage form claiming 6/62 in Tasmania’s first innings.
10. Cameron Boyce (QLD)
The leg spinner nearly single handledly derailed South Australia in their second innings with 7/68.
11. Fawad Ahmed (VIC)
Wrapped up first innings points for the Bushranger with 6/68 against the Warriors. Must be something about 68.