Recent Match Report – West Aust vs South Aust 13th Match 2023/24

Western Australia 26 for 0 (Bancroft 15*, Whiteman 9*) trail South Australia 192 (McAndrew 50*, Hardie 3-11, Paris 3-32) by 166 runs

Left-arm quick Joel Paris tormented South Australia again as Western Australia’s pace attack relished a livelier WACA surface on day one of the Sheffield Shield.

After South Australia were bowled out for 192, openers Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman survived a difficult period in the last hour. Bancroft, the leading run-scorer this Shield season, was dropped by Ben Manenti at second slip on nine off seamer Brendan Doggett to cap a grim day for the Redbacks.

He has taken 16 wickets at an average of 12.31 since returning from a hamstring injury sustained during Australia A’s contest with New Zealand A in August.

The 30-year-old Paris, who played two ODIs against India in 2016, has had a history of injury problems and is often overlooked amid WA’s star-studded quicks, but looms as an intriguing prospect for the national selectors.

“My main focus is playing continuous cricket. I feel like guys who play really good, consistent domestic cricket for a number of years are always a chance [of higher honours],” Paris said.

After their remarkable three-run victory over Queensland, South Australia entered with confidence and faced a WA team looking to rebound from a nightmare Sydney trip where they were thrashed by NSW in the Shield and Marsh Cup.

WA’s opening home Shield matches this season against Victoria and Tasmania had been played on sluggish surfaces with the renowned pace-bowling ground feeling the effects of Australian rules football being played on it during the off-season.

The pitch during the drawn Tasmania match was particularly lifeless with WA officials displeased with it. Unsurprisingly, a grassy and hard surface was rolled out for this fixture and beaming WA skipper Whiteman, who lambasted the surface after the Tasmania match, had no hesitation to bowl first.

Amid sunny and warm conditions, it almost felt like the WACA of lore with Paris bowling a back of length and the ball moved menacingly off the surface.

Paris threatened on almost every delivery and was adamant he had opener Henry Hunt caught at short leg in the third over. He was left frustrated when his raucous appeal was turned down, but Paris’ disappointment was short-lived as he trapped Hunt lbw on the next ball.

Hunt, who last summer had been seen as a Test prospect, had hoped to build on his century against Queensland after a slow start to the season.

The Redbacks slid further when Daniel Drew edged a pitched-up delivery from seamer Aaron Hardie to Bancroft in the first of his five catches at second slip.

South Australia were in danger of succumbing to Paris, whose first spell yielded 1 for 8 from six overs. But opener Jake Carder and Nathan McSweeney withstood the onslaught as the Redbacks crawled to lunch at 56 for 2.

Speedster Lance Morris, who unleashed deliveries nudging 145 kmh before lunch, was rewarded for a terrific spell after the break with a spectacular delivery to knock the top of McSweeney’s off-stump.

Paris dismissed Jake Lehmann with Bancroft again taking a sharp chance at second slip before Hardie and seamer Charles Stobo took over.

Only a rapid unbeaten half-century from Nathan McAndrew defied WA’s attack as he totally dominated the 44-run last-wicket partnership with Jordan Buckingham, but South Australia have much work to do on day two.

The teams are playing for the Rod Marsh Cup, which was unveiled before the day’s play. WA cricket legend Marsh, a combative wicketkeeper-batter who played 96 Tests for Australia from 1970-1984, was the director and coach of the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide after his playing career. He died, aged 74, in March 2022.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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