The Redbacks were pushed onto the back foot in the first over of the day when Jake Weatherald fell to Cameron Gannon, but Brad Davis showed plenty of fight for the home side on his way to a career-high individual total in just his third Shield clash. Skipper Travis Head looked set to play a key role in the Redbacks' response but left runs out in the middle when he became one of Ashton Agar’s five-wicket haul. Allrounder Liam Scott proved resolute at the back end of the innings, finishing unbeaten on 23.
The third session heralded the beginning of Western Australia’s second knock, and despite the loss of Whiteman to a Chadd Sayers bouncer early, Bancroft and Shaun Marsh steadied the ship to have their side in a dominant position heading into the final day.
Davis stands firm
The loss of century-maker Jake Weatherald on just the fourth ball of day three sent an early shiver through the Redbacks camp but third-gamer Brad Davis would have felt a rush of confidence as international regular, and South Australian captain, Travis Head strode out to meet him. Both Redbacks batsmen looked to dig in throughout the opening hour, with Davis in particular foregoing expansive shot-making in favour of a solid defence.
Head started to push the run-rate skyward before long, regularly finding both the middle of the bat. But he went for one too many against spinner Ashton Agar, holing out to Cam Green at deep midwicket for 31.
When Tom Cooper then fell to a stunning catch from Lance Morris, it became clear that Davis, in just his third first-class fixture, was the man shouldered with the responsibility of seeing his side through to lunch.
Karen Rolton Oval is not an unfamiliar place for the 30-year-old; in fact, in an internal trial just before the Shield opener, Davis scored 149* at the top of the order, a score that saw him given the start for this fixture against Western Australia.
He would not disappoint Redbacks fans in his first appearance since March 2019, batting beyond lunch to eventually register a patient, and crucial, knock of 57 from 166 deliveries.
Boundary line catches once considered impossible have become almost commonplace in cricket in recent years, and while this is undoubtably a positive for the sport, Redbacks middle-order veteran Tom Cooper will be wishing it wasn’t so prevalent today.
Just moments after registering his maiden boundary of the Shield season, Cooper went after a short delivery from quick Matthew Kelly and off the bat it looked certain to clear the fine-leg rope for six.
Instead of finding its way into the carpark however, the ball ended in the outstretched palms of a leaping Lance Morris who then landed millimetres inside the rope and somehow managed to hold both his balance and the ball to dismiss Cooper.
Leaders Steady Ship
Western Australia began their second dig with a healthy lead of 167, and openers Cam Bancroft and Sam Whiteman looked to get after the Redbacks bowling outfit early. Their aggressive attitudes saw a few chances created, and in the ninth over Sayers was the one to claim the breakthrough, catching the edge of Whiteman's bat with a short-pitched bullet.
From there however, Cam Bancroft and Shaun Marsh found ways to both keep their wickets intact and keep the score ticking over, gradually increasing their lead as the natural light decreased around them.
With stumps called at 6.30pm following a wonderful catch from Cooper to dismiss Bancroft, Marsh departed the field of play with 102* and a commanding lead of 362 for his side. The question now is how the Redbacks will fare with the bat tomorrow as they face down the large total. A difficult situation could well become a positive should the lineup rise to the occasion and fight the contest to the end.