The last round of the Sheffield Shield before the Big Bash has just completed.
Western Australia defeated Tasmania in 3 days at Bellerive Oval. Batting first the Warriors managed 258 thanks to 93 to opener Cameron Bancroft with Tasmanian all rounders Luke Butterworth and Evan Gulbis both claiming 3 wickets. In reply Tasmania’s first innings was held by together by the aforementioned allrounders Butterworth (72 off 87 balls)and Gulbis (80 off 73 balls), batting at No 9, who rescued the team from 7/41 with a 145 run partnership. Allrounder Mitch Marsh was the pick of the WA bowlers with 4 wickets and then held their second innings together with a patient 70, the only score above 30, in a total of 187. Set 250 to win the Tigers fell 84 runs short losing their last 7 wickets for 35 runs while Alex Doolan made 75 out of the team total of 165. First innings heroes Butterworth and Gulbis were both bowled by Michael Hogan who cleaned up the tail to finish with 5/37.
South Australia took outright points New South Wales at the SCG. New South Wales batted first and managed 373 thanks to 127 to Moises Henriques , his second first class century, and 97 to Ben Rhorer with Joe Mennie the pick of the bowlers with 4/60. South Australia’s reply was built around 118 from Phil Hughes and 80 to Callum Ferguson plus a pair of lower order 40’s to Joe Mennie and Kane Richardson which gave the Redbacks first innings points. New South Wales stumbled in their second innings, reduced to 3/11, before battling their way to 148 all out. The main wicket taker was Gary Putland with 4/35 . Left with a target of 96 to secure outright points, South Australia collapsed to be 3/6 before Callum Ferguson steadied the side with 45 not out and South Australia reached the target in unusual circumstances. Very occasional bowler, Ben Rhorer, bowled the last over; his first ball was hit for four, his second ball hit the helmet behind the wicket keeper conceding 5 penalty runs and handing South Australia victory.
At the Gabba, Queensland batted first and thanks to a spate of half centuries managed 382. First innings points were going down to the wire with Victoria edging closer despite being 7 wickets down thanks to John Hastings who was 47. However just 10 runs short of first innings points James Hopes took two wickets in two balls and followed up with a wicket in his next over to secure Queensland first innings points. In their second innings the Bulls declared at 6 for 313 with Joe Burns making a century to set Victoria the target of 325 runs off 79 overs. The Vics were never in the hunt and 4 wickets to Luke Feldman delivered Queensland a 181 run win.
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Rob Quiney missed with a calf strain and was replaced with perennial 12th man Dave Hussey making his way into the starting XI. Rather than replace Quiney with an opener the Vics pushed regular number 3 Peter Handscomb up to open and Glen Maxwell was promoted to number 3 in the first innings but managed only 14. Matthew Wade then decided to promote himself to number 3 in the second innings and managed 20. Dave Hussey showed his worth by top scoring in both innings.Victoria also omitted both of it’s spinners, Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland, for it’s trip to the Gabba preferring an all pace attack. Former South Australian pacemen Jake Haberfield made his Victorian debut after notable performances in Melbourne Premier cricket.
Phil Hughes compiled another century, number 24 just 10 days after his 25th birthday, which must put his name at the forefront of any thoughts or discussions about replacing batsmen in the Test line up.
Nathan Coulter Nile and Doug Bollinger were rested from Shield duties and placed on standby for the Perth Test whilst Test 12th man James Faulkner once again didn’t play in the Shield. He has missed the last 2 rounds due to 12th man duties and hasn’t played a first class match since November 22.
Top order collapses and low totals
There were some significant top order collapses and sub 200 totals in this round of the Shield:
Top order stutters:
New South Wales: 148
Tasmania: 196 & 165
Western Australia: 187
Wicket keeping firsts:
Tim Paine collected 10 dismissals in a match for the first time including a stumping off the medium pace of Mark Cosgrove. If Paine is to push for national team honours his batting would need to improve. He managed 12 & 4 in this match and his lone first class hundred remains the 215 he made as a specialist batsmen in his second Shield season.
Matthew Wade, as skipper of Victoria, has used 8 bowlers in an innings in the last 2 Sheffield Shield matches. Against Queensland he employed 8 bowlers in the first innings and took it a step further in the second innings using 9 bowlers including bringing himself on to bowl the last over of Day 3 with Queensland 1/208. It worked with Wade dismissing Joe Burns caught and bowled off his second ball for 102. It was Wade’s first first-class wicket.
Somewhat surprisingly Wade continued to bowl at the start of the next day sending down another 3 overs. For the Vics only Peter Handscombe didn’t bowl in the match, however he did affect the stumping of Ben Cutting off Dave Hussey’s bowling. As Wade had already taken a catch with the gloves off Scott Boland to dismiss Luke Pomersbach it meant two different wicket keepers for Victoria collected dismissals in Queensland’s second innings. This might be a wicket keeping first too.
To me the use of two wicket keepers in an innings reflects the muddled thinking afflicting Victoria at the moment: strange team selection, with Dave Hussey often omitted, an overabundance of all rounders selected- Glen Maxwell, Dan Christian and John Hastings, unwillingness to select the two spinners Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland in all but one game and neither at the Gabba, plus 8 bowlers or more regularly used in an innings. Victorian coach Greg Shippherd’s assertion before the first game of the season, that the 12th man should be allowed to bowl, stripping Shield games of first class status so Victoria could pick both of it’s spinners exemplified this confused outlook. Unsurprisingly the Bushrangers are on the bottom of the Sheffield Shield points table.
Phil Hughes (South Australia)
Scored 118 in South Australia’s first innings setting up a match winning advantage over New South Wales.
Joe Burns (Queensland)
Returned to the Shield team to open and delivered a century in Queensland second innings to go with a first innings 75.
Luke Pomersbach (Queensland)
Scored 73 and 85 opening for Queensland. Pomersbach has been in fine form after a delayed start to the first class season.
Ben Rhorer (New South Wales)
Rhorer made a first innings 97 and followed up by top scoring in the second innings with 40. Bizarrely gifted South Australia victory by hitting the helmet behind the keeper in a rare visit to the bowling crease.
Moises Henriques (New South Wales)
Hit 127 in the first innings, his second first class hundred, and also chipped in with two wickets
Mitch Marsh (Western Australia)
The younger Marsh brother contributed 70 out of 187 in Western Australia’s second innings batting at Number 6. His medium pacers also delivered 4/19 off 7 overs.
Tim Paine (Tasmania)
Collected 10 dismissals including a stumpings off the medium pace of Mark Cosgrove. His batting remains a stumbling block however with just 12 & 4 in this game against WA.
Trent Copeland (New South Wales)
The parsimonious Copeland managed a typically frugal 4/92 from 38 overs against South Australia.
Alistair McDermott (Queensland)
McDermott proved a thorn in the Victorians side with 4/78 and 2/29
Andrew Fekete (Tasmania)
Fekete imnpressed on his return tot he Tasmanian line up with 4/54 and 2/44 against WA.
Michael Hogan (Western Australia)
Hogan took 5/37 in Tasmania’s second innings ,including a devastating late spell bowling three of the lower order, to secure the outright win for Western Australia.
The Sheffield Shield season takes a two month break for the Big Bash. The final four rounds commence on February 12.