So the two Shield matches that began on Sunday ended up finishing up yesterday (With a game still to play) and with Australia once again proving incapable of playing 50-over cricket, we’ve got enough content to fire up another review!
Cameron Bancroft and 10 Players not named Cameron Bancroft (157 & 4-243) defeated South Australia (159 & 240) by 6 wickets at the WACA
MOTM: Matt Kelly (WA)
Mitch Marsh returned from a hit to the jatz crackers to captain his state, and WA’s middle order also showed up in the second innings to get the hosts home in a battle of the Shield lightweights.
Despite sending the Redbacks into bat and holding them to just 159 (Liam Guthrie with 4/53), WA couldn’t take advantage as Winter, of the Nick variety, came early with figures of 4/23 to keep them to 157, with only Josh Philippe’s 47 keeping the scores pretty much on par.
Despite getting some good Head (72), the pace bowling of Matt Kelly (career best 6-67) skittled the Redbacks’ tail and kept the target to 243, which based on the standard of batting up to that point, should’ve been enough to win comfortably.
But WA mowed down the target before stumps on Day 3 thanks to aggressive batting from Bancroft (52), Whiteman (44), Inglis (29) Marsh (31 off 37) and Josh Philippe (53* off 62) who finished off the job with Hilton Cartwright happy to sit back and watch.
NSW (150 & 298) defeated Queensland (185 & 89) by 174 runs at The Yo Gabba Gabba
MOTM: Moises Henriques (NSW)
While the WA-SA match was dominated by the bowlers, the concurrent match on the side of the continent was also dominated by good bowling, as a grand total of 28 wickets fell on March 3rd.
First it was Luke Feldman who struck first with 5-20 as the Blues struggled to 150 on a green deck, and in reply Queensland were left struggling themselves at 7-104, but skipper Jimmy Peirson and Mark Steketee (41 each) provided some tail wag as the Bulls got to 185, a lead of 35 in a low scoring match.
By stumps on Day 2, Moises Henriques and Dan Hughes had a 50-run stand to give the Blues the momentum at 2-103, and trucked along until ‘Marnus’ dismissed Henriques for 78 to end the partnership at 119. Hughes would be dismissed on 68, but it set up a good score of 298, leaving the Bulls 264 to win on a still green deck against a very good Blues attack.
The hosts’ chances of outright victory were shattered when Abbott ripped through the Bulls’ top order like a cane toad through the Queensland environment, with a spell of 3 for 2 to leave them reeling at 3-14 inside 10 overs, and there was no relief as Henriques picked up The Duke and caused even more destruction, finishing with figures of 3 for 7.
As the Bulls were bent over a barrel at 6-64 (Say that with a lisp), Abbott returned to complete his Michelle ‘Pfeiffer’, and the hosts collpased for 89 to get flogged by 174 runs- To make it look worse, they actually lost 10-77.
To quote the 12th Man, “A pretty piss poor effort that.”
For the second consecutive match, the Bulls held a lead after the first innings, but yet again fell in a heap as their hopes of defending the title are now on life support.
TO BE UPDATED
Victoria (454 & 3/307) drew with Tasmania (286 & 5-197) at the Junction Oval.
As Chrissie Hynde told us in circa 1986, Some things change, some stay the same.
Marcus Harris was dismissed in the 90s in the Vics’ first innings (94) as he tried smacking a six to reach his ton, and Nic Maddinson belted another century on his way to 136, apparently equalling Bradman by scoring three centuries in his first three matches for a Shield team (1935-36 for South Australia)
Seb Gotch also joined in the fun, until like Harris, he was dismissed in the 90s (93) to end the innings.
Tassie were immediately in trouble at 4-96, but even some strong-arm batting from Matty Wade (86) can’t keep them out of their Apple Isle-sized hole, sitting on 8-234 at stumps, still 220 behind.
Some late hitting by Sam Rainbird ensured the Vics would be sent back in, the lead still a healthy 168.
The dominance of the hosts continued, despite Harris being dismissed for 44 and Maddinson under-performing with just 61, it was the young sensation Will Pucovski who scored his 3rd century in just 10 matches, finishing unbeaten on 131*, with the old bear Cameron White hitting 52* off just 55 deliveries, leading to a declaration on 3/307, setting a target of 476 for the win with just over a day to play.
The Tigers got to stumps on Day 3 at 0/27, their chances of victory being as extinct as their mascot, but the final day rescue mission began well as Silk and Doolan (88) got to lunch unbeaten on 0-112, as the chances of the draw became more and more likely.
After the pair fell in quick succession, middle order wickets slowly trickled away, but so did the time, and thanks to Ben McDermott’s role of playing a corpse with pads on (5* off 98 deliveries), the Tigers snuck away with a draw, which they’d have to be happy with, considering how badly beaten their bowling attack was.
Whilst being born in New South Wales automatically entitles you to a baggy green, Nic Maddinson is on track to get his Test spot back on merit.
India (250, 48.2) defeated Australia (242, 49.3) at Nagpur
Another Australian performance that went down like a fart in an elevator.
The annoying part is that the Aussies actually bowled well, despite Kohli’s 116 (Which won India the match), India were bowled for 250 as Cummins took 4/29 in 9 overs.
In the first couple of overs, the Indians (Particularly Mohammed Shami) couldn’t figure out that the idea of bowling in limited overs cricket is to not bowl down leg side, but once they figured things out the Aussies were stuffed with a capital ‘F’.
After trudging along, the Aussies were in a good position at 5-216, needing just a run a ball to win with Stoinis and Carey settled at the crease.
Hang on, Stoinis settled at the crease, a small target to reach? This sounds exactly like the Big Bash Final!
The collapse began when Carey was bowled by Yadav, Coulter Nile went, Cummins went, then Australia’s hopes collapsed for good when Stoinis was given LBW on 52, as the Aussies were all out for 242, India winning by 8 runs.
And it goes to show how well Aaron Finch has been playing when 37 is considered a massive return to form.
Not even a prayer to St Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, can save Australia from the horror that awaits us all in the World Cup.