West Aussies claim Shield win in brilliant bowling battle
WESTERN Australia has claimed a big win against the New South Wales Blues in the Sheffield Shield at the SCG over the past few days, with the visitors emerging victorious to the tune of 133 runs in quite a low-scoring affair.
It was a battle of the bowlers, with three of the four innings resulting in scores of less than 135 runs, as batsmen struggled to get a read on the ball. Remarkably, 30 wickets fell in less than two days, as batters from both sides ended up getting more cardio from the walk to and from the crease than anything.
Western Australia’s first innings at the crease was the catalyst for victory, posting the biggest score of the match by a considerable margin, and despite suffering a batting collapse of their own, the visiting side’s bowling attack did the heavy lifting as they claimed their fourth win of the season to remain unbeaten from five games.
NSW Blues (93 & 134) def. by Western Australia (233 & 127)
Western Australia won the toss and opted to bat, confident in their ability to conquer quite an unpredictable pitch. The pitch was a bowler’s dream, with a lack of growth seeing each delivery produce a bit of movement. W.A. openers Sam Whiteman (47) and Cameron Bancroft (39) got their side going with a 92-run partnership, and although Teague Wyllie (15) and Hilton Cartwright (2) fell cheaply, Sam Fanning produced a strong showing to get his side back on track. He weathered some tough deliveries from the opposition bowling attack to finish with 61 runs from 135 deliveries, as Western Australia ended with a total of 233 runs, which was considered achievable for the Blues.
New South Wales would have been confident going into the second innings of the match, but instead produced one of their lowest totals of the season. Opener Daniel Hughes (30) and middle order specialist Baxter Holt (16) were the only players to register in double digits, as W.A. fast bowler Matthew Kelly ripped through the top order, dismissing three of the Blues’ top four batsmen as seam and swing became a big factor for all bowlers. The Blues could only muster up 93 runs from their batting order, and looked in dire straits.
However, the West Aussies let the opposition back into the match with a disappointing performance in the game’s third innings. Bancroft and Whiteman combined for just one run as the swing on the ball began to draw plenty of LBW’s. Power hitter D’Arcy Short got his side’s score to somewhat respectable at 127, but the door was ajar for the hosts, especially thanks to Chris Green‘s nine wickets across the span of two innings.
A strong start was crucial for the Blues if they were to claim the unlikeliest of victories, but the openers were sent packing for a combined eight runs. New South Wales certainly looked more composed and in control than last time around, but still failed to capitalise on a winning opportunity. Green was again the standout, producing a knock of 38 runs from 37 balls on his way to Man of the Match honours, although his side eventually fell by over 100 runs.