2014/15 Sheffield Shield Round Up 2

The results

The round was conducted in a day night format with a new variation of the pink ball used. This second trial of the pink ball in two seasons is in preparation for a potential day night test match against New Zealand next summer.

Tasmania v Victoria at Bellerive Oval

Victoria travelled to Hobart minus the services of wicket keeper and captain Matthew Wade, who was rested ahead of the Australian One day internationals. He was replaced by Alex Keath with Peter Handscomb taking the gloves and Dave Hussey, in his 100th Shield match for Victoria taking on the captaincy. John Hastings hurt his back last match and was replaced by Clint McKay. Tasmania also had one change with George Bailey rested for national honours, replaced by the returning Alex Doolan. Ben Hilfenhaus was unavailable for selection as he recovers from injury.

Batting first Victoria managed just 279 held together by a fine innings of 96 to Peter Handscomb. For Tasmania paceman Andrew Fekete continued his fine start to the season with 4/70 and Hamish Kingston claimed 4/79. In replay Tasmania could only manage 253 with little support for Ed Cowan who made 105 off 120 at the top of the order. The best for the Vics were Fawad Ahmed and Dan Christian with 3 wickets apiece.

In it’s second innings Victoria crumbled to 4/34 and then 173 all out with only Dan Christian providing any meaningful reisitance with 46. Set 200 for outright victory Tasmania did it easily reaching their target after an hours play on Day 5. At the start of Day 5 Jordan Silk was on 81 not out and Jon Wells on 17 not out, with Tasmania needing 46 runs for victory, somehow Silk managed to only score 16 of the required runs and so finished on 97 not out at the conclusion – the opportunity of a century went begging.

Points: Tasmania 8.03, Victoria 2.29

Dave Hussey didn't have a memorable 100th Shield match for Victoria despite being skipper.
Dave Hussey didn’t have a memorable 100th Shield match for Victoria despite being skipper.

South Australia v New South Wales at Adelaide Oval

South Australia made two changes to it’s line up dropping favourite son Mark Cosgrove for the returning Phil Hughes, and swapped fast bowlers with Dan Worrall replacing Gary Putland. New South Wales regained the services of Steve O’Keefe at the expense of Patrick Jackson and Mitch Starc replaced Josh Hazlewood due to his national call up. Ben Rhorer missed due to his head knock in the previous game replaced by Daniel Hughes who made a century opening and captaining NSW in the Futures League the week prior.

New South Wales batted first and managed just 230 largely due to the outstanding bowling of South Australian captain Johan Botha who bolwed 32.2 overs, 14 maidens and took 6/34. In reply South Australia managed a first innings lead of 63 runs after making 293 thanks to 121 to Tom Cooper, Gurinder Sandhu and Mitch Starc were the best performed bowlers for NSW with 4 wickets each.

Nick Larken batting against South Australia
Nick Larken batting against South Australia

In it’s second innings New South Wales ran up 5/392 declared due to maiden centuries to opener Nick Larkin (142 in his second game) and 153 to number 3, Scott Henry. Set an unlikely 330 for victory off  overs the South Australia were looking comfortable as openers Hughes and McDonald progressed to 78 without loss but then SA collapsed spectacularly losing 7/42 as numbers 3, 4 and 5 all recorded ducks.

With survival the key to force a draw, wicket keeper Tim Ludeman dug in and found a willing ally in number 9, Adam Zampa. Zampa was unlucky to be dismissed caught at midwicket after belting the ball into the silly mid off fielder only for it to ricochet to Mitch Starc. With just 5 overs remaining and 9 wickets down Ludeman shouldered arms to Starc and was bowled ending a 136 ball vigil of 17 runs and handing New South Wales outright victory. Steve O’Keefe was the second innings destroyer taking 5/24 for the Blues.

Points: New South Wales 7.77, South Australia 2.43

Western Australia v Queensland at WACA

Western Australia lost Nathan Coulter Nile to national resting and he was replaced by debutante fast bowler Sam Mackin. Interestingly Ashes favourite Ashton Agar was dropped in favour of allrounder/spinner Ashton Turner with Warriors skipper Adam Voges stating that the decision was made because the pink ball doesn’t take as much spin as the red ball. For Queensland fast bowling all rounder Mick Nesser returned from injury replacing spinner Ryan Le Loux who had a comeback match to forget. Greg Moller replaced Ben McDermott at number 3 after he made 0 and 2 on debut and fast bowler Alister McDermott replaced Luke Feldman.

Batting first Queensland capitulated to 163 all out off 64.4 overs due to 5/27 to Nathan Rimmington and 3/44 to Jason Behrendorf. Western Australia replied with 357 thanks to 99 to opener Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh returned to form making 111 batting at number 5. Best for Queensland was evergreen skipper James Hopes taking 5/60. In reply Queensland were blown away by left armer Jason Behrendorf who took 7/70 and managed 210 with only Greg Moller providing reistance with 86 at number 3. Set just 17 runs to win WA lost 2 wickets in the small chase but still managed  to wrap up outright victory inside 3 days.

Points Western Australia 8.12, Queensland 0

Australia watch

The resting of Australian players from Shield cricket has become ludicrous.

First the Australian T20 squad was rested from the first round of the Sheffield Shield. The 4 day games ran from Friday to Monday and the T20 series started two days later on Wednesday. The first round of the Shield should have been brought forward by a day or two, and the Matador Cup final likewise so that players could play in both the Shield and the T20 internationals against South Africa. As it is, for example Queensalnd leg spinner Cameron Boyce has missed two Sheffield Shield matches or 20% of the first class season to play 3 T20 matches against a second string South African team.

Secondly the Australian One Day players were rested from the second round of Shield matches despite the Shield being played from Saturday to Tuesday and the one dayers not starting until Friday, 3 days later. Given the dire performances of most of the Test batsmen against Pakistan in the UAE some long format batting practice would surely be what is required a month from the first test against India at the Gabba.

An example of the strangeness of this situation was Nathan Coulter-Nile who is in the Australian one day squad. He didn’t play for WA against Queensland at the WACA in the Shield even though the one day matches are also at the WACA so there was no travel to factor for Coulter-Nile and he wasn’t part of the squad in the UAE. George Bailey was running water for Tasmania on the first day of their Shield match rather than playing. As Tasmania wrapped up victory in Hobart on Day 4, Bailey was on a boat in Perth posing for selfies with fans. Cricket Australia priorities…

George Bailey was too busy with 'fan engagement' to play a Shield match
George Bailey was too busy with ‘fan engagement’ to play a Shield match

If the first round of the Shield had been brought forward one day then the second round could have also started one day earlier on Friday which could have made it easier for the players to play in both the second round of the Shield and the one dayers against South Africa.

There is no excuse for the Australian players not playing in the second round of the Shield given that Glenn Maxwell turned out for the Australian T20 team on Friday and Sunday after returning from the test series in the UAE.

The resting of players from first class cricket should have been done on a case by case basis not a blanket rule. Most batsmen who were in UAE could have done with some match practice, whilst some of the bowlers like Mitchell Johnson probably could have had a rest.

Cricket Victoria

Cricket Victoria are playing politics with their Shield games in a battle to get funding from the State government to upgrade the Junction Oval.

Victoriawill play 3 of there home games outside Victoria due to the unavailability of the MCG during the World Cup. Two games will be played in Alice Springs and  one game at Glenelg Oval in Adelaide. The reason given is Cricket Victoria say there are no venues in Victoria up to first class standard and therefore games had to be taken interstate. How this has been determined is bewildering.

The Junction Oval hosted the Shield final in 2009 and Women’s International matches two season’s ago as well as List A games between Victoria and the England Lions, Central Reserve in Glen Waverley has also hosted a match between Victoria and Sri Lanka, Toorak Park occasionally hosts 2nd XI matches. It is hard to imagine these venues are not of a similar standard to Drummoyne Oval or Bankstown Oval in Sydney or Glenelg Oval in Adelaide which have hosted first class cricket.

The World Cup is not taking games to regional centres but why couldn’t Cricket Victoria take these three Shield matches to country Victoria rather than interstate.

Ballarat, Bendigo , Taralgon and Geelong have all previously hosted state limited overs games.Melbourne Premier cricket has already had a regional round this season so that would have been a perfect opportunity to test potential regional venues to be suitable for first class matches. New South Wales, for example,  is taking one of it’s games to Wagga Wagga during the World Cup.

Women’s T20 Internationals

Despite progress in the promotion and coverage of Women’s cricket there remains plenty of room for improvement. The recently completed men’s T20 series against South Africa were played as double headers with women’s T20 Internationals between Australia and West Indies. However the women’s matches started a full 5 hours before the men’s matches and finished 2 hours before the mens’ match started. It seems highly unlikely the average fan would have been at the ground in time to see the curtain raiser. The first T20 between Australia and West Indies was played at North Sydney Oval prior to a men’s T20 tour match between a Cricket Australia XI and South Africa. The order of these matches should have been reversed – the international match should not have been a curtain raiser to a tour match

Why were this Women’s International and Tour match held at North Sydney Oval? Well that’s because the semi finals and finals of the Sydney grade T20 competition were being played at the same time at SCG. Strange priorities indeed – an International match was relegated to a suburban venue so a Test venue could host grade cricket. The Women’s International should have been played as the main event at the Test venue, the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The XI

1. Ed Cowan (Tasmania)

Cowan scored 105 off 120 balls out of Tasmania’s first innings total of 253 to make it centuries in consecutive matches. Fellow openers Cameron Bancroft  who made 99 and  Jordan Silk 97* were unlucky to miss out on centuries.

2.Nick Larken (New South Wales)

Made his maiden Shield hundred in just his second match with 130 in the second innings. Larken also made 78 in the first innings for 208 runs in the match.

3. Scott Henry (New South Wales)

Henry also made his maiden first class hundred with 142 and also scored a half century in the first innings to finish with nearly 200 runs for the match.

4. Tom Cooper (South Australia)

Made 121 in South Australia’s first innings

5. Shaun Marsh (Western Austrlaia)

Marsh returned to form with 111 after a duck in the previous Shield match.

6. Peter Handscomb (Victoria)+

Handscomb took the gloves for Victoria and scored 96 in Victoria’s first innings.

7. Johan Botha (South Australia)

The SA skipper took 6/34 and 3/93 for match figures of 9/127. His batting was not as strong (6 and 1) as he moved down the order from number 6 to number 7 for this match.

8. James Hopes (Queensland)

The Queensland veteran loves bowling with the pink ball, opening the bowling in both innings to take 5/60 and 2/10

9. Nathan Rimmington (Western Australia)

Rimmington’s 5/27 in Queensland’s first innings set the tone for Western Australia’s domination of the match

10. Steve O’Keefe (New South Wales)

Cleaned up the South Australian second innings with 5/24 with his left arm orthodox spin to lead NSW to outright victory

11. Jason Behrendorf (Western Australia)

The tall left arm paceman ripped through the Queensland batting line up in the second innings taking 7/70 following up from his 3/44 in the first innings to give him a 10 wicket haul.

The round ahead

A return to day games and a red ball with matches commencing on Sunday

South Australia v Victoria at Adelaide Oval

Tasmania v Western Australia at Bellerive Oval

Queensland v New South Wales at the Gabba

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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