Some of the Australian Test squad players returned to play Sheffield Shield in this round. Phil Hughes returned for South Australia, Jackson Bird and Alex Doolan turned out for Tasmania, Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon rejoined with New South Wales and Shaun Marsh was back for Western Australia. However some of players not involved in the Australian T20 team did not play Shield cricket: Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke and Peter Siddle. Ryan Harris also didn’t play due to a knee operation. Micahel Clarke has said he will be available for New South Wales in the Shield final.
Victoria played two spinners in its final game for only the second time this season. South Australia were without their skipper Johan Botha afer he was suspended for one match due to an incident in the previous round. Botha was warned for stopping the ball with his spikes and then pretended to rub the old ball on his spikes as it was discarded for a new ball. The match referee didn’t see the funny side and Botha was suspended.
The final solution
The Shield final is causing some fixturing and venue headaches due to 6 venues being on standby for an event only one will host. New South Wales will host the final at Manuka Oval in Canberra because the SCG is hosting the opening of the Major League Baseball season. If the South Australia had won the right to host the Shield final it would have been played at Glenelg Oval due to a Rolling Stones concert at Adelaide Oval. The MCC would probably prefer to host AFL matches at the MCG next weekend than have it sit vacant. The solution to these problems is to have the Shield final fixtured at the same neutral venue each year. And where better to host it than the underused venue of Manuka Oval in Canberra.
New South Wales’ contract to play one Shield game a season their expires this season so from next season, Manuka could become the neutral venue for the Shield final for the years to come. The team finishing on top would still win the Shield if the match is drawn and it would give players and venue managers of the cricket grounds around the country certainty as to where the Shield final would be each season. Manuka Oval is an international cricket ground that sees only a handful of cricket matches per season – a Chariman’s XI game and a PM’s XI game against touring teams and ACT Futures League games – hosting the Shield final could become a feature event in ACT cricket.
1. Mark Cosgrove (Tasmania)
Made a welcome return to form with a century against his old team, SA.
2. Rob Quiney (Victoria)
Quineys determined batting in the second innings secured Victoria a draw against Queensland he finished on 143 not out from 383 balls.
3. Steve Smith (New South Wales)
In a low scoring game in Canberra Smith top scored in both innings for New South Wales with 48 and 89. He was instrumental in guiding the Blues victorious fourth innings run chase that secured them a home final.
4. Shaun Marsh (Western Australia)
Marsh batted at number 5 for Western Australia and followed up a 2nd ball duck in the first innings with a masterful 113 in the second innings that guided WA to a respectable total
5. Peter Forrest (Queensland)
Continued his recent run of good form and expertly held together the Queensland first innings with 155 not out – an innings which contained just 5 boundaries.
6. Tim Paine (Tasmania)
Paine looked set to score just his second first class century in a big partnership with Evan Gulbis but was dismissed for 87.
7. James Hopes (Queensland)
Hopes has starred with the ball since the Shield restarted, this time he took 6/45 to derail Victoria’s first innings.
8. Evan Gulbis (Tasmania)
Put in the performance of the round with the bat scoring 229 off 293 balls against South Australia and followed up with 4 for 7 with the ball. It is the highest ever score by a number 8 in Shield history.
9. Aston Agar (Western Australia)
Agar showed a return to the form of 12 moths ago with a five wicket haul against NSW.
10. Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales)
Hazlewood dismanteld the WA first innings with 4 for 14 and followed up with 3 for 59 in the second.
11. Jackson Bird (Tasmania)
In his first Shield match this season Bird ripped through South Australia with 6 for 50 in the first innings and return
The 2013/14 Sheffield Shield final over 5 days, starting Friday March 21
New South Wales v Western Australia at Manuka Oval, Canberra
Entry is free.