Australian Cricket Review: 4th December

“Caught By: A big white blur, off the bowling of Matt Kelly”

Pavel Florin’s Run-Out

Move over Matthew Pavlich, you’re now the second-most popular Pav in Perth.

That’s the funniest run-out I’ve seen since Adam Zampa’s legendary Falcon Run-out from the Big Bash.

Queensland 240 & 0/18 defeated Tasmania 107 & 150 by 10 wickets @ Blundstone Arena

POTM: Sam Heazlett (QLD) – 135 off 198 balls

This match was so long ago, it literally finished last month.

Still, there’s something you don’t see too often in cricket- A 2 Day match actually ending in an outright resu—

Hang on, it was a 4 day game?

Boy oh boy…. well, we probably won’t see a more comprehensive win this Shield Season.

The Bulls won the toss and just showing their confidence levels, had no hesitation bowling first on a deck so green, Bob Marley would have lit it up like a Christmas tree.

Mark Steketee backed up his big Marsh Cup by producing a blinding opening 2 overs- He claimed Jordan Silk LBW for a duck, Beau Webster LBW for a duck, and George Bailey LBW for 2, leaving Tassie dead in the water at 3 for 4.

It was deadset carnage from the opening delivery, and halfway through the second session, the Tigers were wiped out for 107, as Steketee finished with 5/19 – His best First Class figures – And Alex Doolan (34), Jake Doran (32) and Ben McDermott (18) accounted for 78% of Tasmania’s innings, as the only 3 players to pass double figures.

The Bulls didn’t fare any better at all once they got set – Jackson Bird swooped in and claimed Matty Renshaw went for a duck, Usman Khawaja went for 2, and Charlie Hemphrey for 3, leaving the Banana Benders at 3 for 11 at Tea!

But, while every batsman was sucked into the 22 yard black hole that stood in the middle of Bellerive, Sammy Heazlett kept his head intact and dragged the Bulls into the lead, first combining with Bryce Street to get Queensland to stumps on Day 1 at 4/97, and then on Saturday, received ample support from Mitch Swepson (37 off 36 if you don’t mind), and reached a really well-earned century on one of the best bowling decks this Shield season.

Heazlett does have a very solid history with Hobart, scoring a century at Bellerive on his Shield debut 4 years ago!

After Heazlett went one too big too many times, the Bulls were bowled out for 240, which based on the 1st innings looked enough to win the match by an innings, and with Steketee on a mission to send Tasmanian Tiger into extinction for a second time, it was a realistic possibility.

Beginning the 2nd Innings, The Steketeesaurus removed Silk, Doolan and McDermott inside the first 5 overs, and combined with Cameron Gannon removing Webster, Tassie had no hope of victory at 4/15, with the last 3 wickets going for naught.

Still, Gorgeous George Bailey, in his second-to-last Shield match, at least ensured Queensland would have to bat again, managing to outscore all of his teammates COMBINED, thanks to some good support from Bird and the lower order, but the skipper fell for 87 to Steketee (4/32) just before stumps on Day 2, as Tassie were bowled out cheaply again, this time for 150, leaving Queensland to chase 18 to take an outright win.

They did it in 5 overs.

In one of the shortest Shield matches in a while, the Bulls were absolutely dominant in the Apple Isle, led perfectly by Steketee and Hazlett, and after a batting performance like that, George Bailey has come up with the perfect excuse to pick himself in the Test side for the New Zealand series.

Do it George, you know you want to.

Victoria 7/307d drew with NSW 294 & 0/129 @ The MCG

POTM: Steve O’Keefe (NSW)

This just in: Melbourne’s weather is still as miserable as an ALP election party.

The Vics regained Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson from personal leave, and then suffered a massive blow when Aaron Finch was struck in the helmet fielding on Day 2, leading to him being ruled out for the remainder of the match under the concussion protocol.

After struggling early on Day 1 at 6/149, the Blues eventually made 294 thanks to a solid partnership from Peter Nevill and Sean Abbott, which resulted in both scoring half-centuries.

In another one of those funny situations, after Finch was hit, Cricket Victoria had to send the runner to Travis Dean, who was batting for Footscray against Essendon at Windy Hill, telling him to retire his innings, get his arse in the car, and drive to Jolimont to play the rest of the Shield match.

It begs the question of who would you rather play for – A once proud team stuck to the bottom of the table… or Footscray.

For some reason, Travis chose the first option (For the record, he made an unbeaten 13 before the rain kicked in).

Then again, he didn’t have much to do, because just when it looked like the Vics were going to build a nice lead on the Blues thanks to half-centuries to Pucovski (82), Maddinson (59) and Pete Handscomb (54), the rain came on Sunday afternoon, leading to a 4 hour delay, which took out most of Victoria’s innings, forced them to declare on 7/305, and basically confirmed the match would end in a draw.

In the meantime, the Blues were playing some kind of heathen footvolleyball in the race.

As more rain delays hit during Monday morning, Dan Hughes and Nick Larkin made to Tea with an unbeaten 127-run partnership, and with a result looking virtually impossible, both captains agreed to a draw, putting the first blemish on what had been a perfect season for New South Wales, and keeping the Vics winless… Which is a win for the entire country.

In a match like this, it was a lottery as to who would get POTM honours, which went to Steve O’Keefe, for his 5/80 in Victoria’s innings, plus the cameo 25 he made with the bat.

Can’t really argue for it, can’t really argue against it, although considering Larkin made a pair of half-centuries, he had a worthy case.

But regardless of the draw, if the Blues knock off Queensland this weekend, they’ll just about be guaranteed a spot in the Final in March.

Remembering of course, that we just ticked into December.

WA 8/492d & 6/205d defeated SA 353 & 308 by 36 runs @ The WACA

POTM: Possibly Matt Kelly, Possibly Cameron Green

Before I get stuck in to that crapshoot of a final day, I’ve gotta mention Ashton Agar pulling this ripper of a catch 2 overs into South Australia’s chase.

Is it a bird, is it a plane, no, it’s just a bald guy in a cap.

Other than that classic random moment of Shield brilliance, I reckon this match summed why WA and South Australia have achieved next to nothing in red ball cricket during the 21st Century.

First, WA nearly managed to lose despite; Making nearly 500 and declaring in the first innings, reducing the Redbacks to 6/124 in reply, before letting Alex Carey off the chain, declaring again after Shaun Marsh carried them to what should’ve been a huge target of 345 in 2 sessions, and then once again watching Callum Ferguson go to town on their bowling attack for 4 hours.

And then South Australia did a South Australia, and managed to lose a match they should have at least grabbed a draw from, despite making it to 3/255 with time well and truly not a factor, and Ferguson and Cooper at the crease cleaving the WA attack.

On that point, why the crap is it that every time of late that WA come up against Callum Frikkin’ Ferguson, they pretty much accept that he’s gonna give their bowling attack a prostate check?

Then again, Tim Paine has only scored 2 first class centuries… both against WA.

So first of all, I have to look at how WA got so far ahead in the first place, and it goes back to the young fella of the moment in Cameron Green, who cracked another century, as WA’s middle and lower order took the Croweaters to task – Josh Philippe made 91, Marcus Stoinis made 79, Ashton Agar made another good score of 62 batting at No.8, and even Joel Paris made 49, and was a moral lock to get a half-century before Ashton Turner following Agar’s dismissal.

Then in the 2nd Innings, as everyone fell in a heap, Shaun Marsh played a cool hand, got together with Ashton Agar for the second time in a week, and scored another century to give WA a viable target.

After that latest oustanding performance by Green, Ricky Ponting wanted him in the squad for the New Zealand series as an all-rounder, using the time honoured, ‘Throw a young player in the deep end and destroy his confidence’ suggestion, even though Cam can’t bowl because of his shoulder.

It took Green himself, and Henry Lawson of all people, to point how utterly stupid Punter’s idea was.

I think Kermit the Frog was right – It’s not easy being Green.

So now tracking forward to Monday evening, and after Stoinis found a way to take out Ferguson with a really pissy flick on 123, David ‘Not Tom’ Moody came on, bowled 2 absolute pies that went for boundaries, and then somehow picked up the vital wicket of Cooper, who played a shot that summed up why he’s never really gone beyond domestic cricket – A rank pullshot to complement the deadset pie that came out of Moody’s hand, that went straight to Kelly in the deep.

With the tail exposed, the Redbacks began collapsing in a heap against the pace of Kelly, Moody and and Paris, with Kelly picking up 5 wickets, Moody, for all of his wild bowling, taking 3 wickets, with Paris mopping up ‘The’ Chadd Sayers and Joe Mennie to leave the Redbacks 9 down with 7 overs to go in the match, as play ticked past 6 o’clock.

With 7 balls to go, Adam Zampa, after going to 37 off 30 and not really looking like he realised a draw was the safest option, played the most utterly inexplicable paddle around the corner off Moody, which sat up perfectly for Paris to take the catch, and complete what had looked like being an extremely unlikely victory for WA.

In all, the collapse was 7-53 in 15 overs, pretty much all inside the last 90 minutes.

I think that’s now 15 matches running without an outright victory for the Croweaters…. Has the South Australian Government considered asking Elon Musk if he can build a battery with enough energy to power them to a Shield win?

Categories: Cricket

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