The day was highlighted by a milestone for Redbacks debutant Joe Medew-Ewen and a brilliant century from NSW number three Kurtis Patterson, but several more storylines weaved across the Adelaide Oval surface during an action-packed 96 overs of play.
In his maiden first-class outing, Joe Medew-Ewen impressed on day two without joining the wicket-takers list, but when he was thrown the ball midway through the opening session of day three that milestone was surely at the front of his mind.
He would not have to wait long, striking in his third over of the day to remove Curtis Patterson with a beautifully flighted delivery that deceived the century-maker into a lofted drive which fell into the eagerly waiting hands of Travis Head in a short cover position. In a moment the young wrist-spinner will never forget, he was mobbed by joyous teammates to celebrate the wicket, a scene that breathes further life into a Redbacks side seeking their first victory of the Shield season.
Bowling a total of 28 overs in the Redbacks innings, the most of any bowler in red and only topped by Nathan Lyon’s marathon effort of 45 in the opening innings, Medew-Ewen finished with figures of 2/105, a strong start to his first-class career.
NSW sought to push the game forward in the final overs of the middle session, with some lofty strokes from Sean Abbott and Mitchell Starc sending a previously sluggish run-rate north. When Abbott fell to Medew-Ewen, Nathan Lyon took up the challenge, swinging hard from his opening delivery. Both Starc and Lyon sent the ball into the crowd in the shadows of the tea break, with the declaration coming just minutes before the interval was scheduled to be called.
Despite being 116 runs behind the Redbacks first innings total, NSW’s declaration kept the contest alive, with all three results possible heading into the final session of day three. It was a similar declaration to that of Western Australia in the Redbacks most recent Sheffield Shield game, and the South Australian’s will be hoping for a similar result in this fixture, albeit with one extra wicket on the final day’s play.
Starc’s sparkling start
With four sessions to play, South Australia needed to score some quicks runs before getting NSW back into bat with enough time to bowl them out, and straight away Mitchell Starc powered a kookaburra-sized hole into that plan. Just minutes earlier departing the field with an unbeaten half-century, the left-arm quick found immediate swing with the new ball and claimed the wickets of Henry Hunt and Liam Scott within his opening two overs to have the Redbacks 2-1.
Almost identical deliveries saw the end of both batsmen, with Starc moving the ball sharply back into their pads before turning to implore the umpire to send them on their way. Both inquiries were answered in the affirmative, seeing the South Australian skipper marching to the middle just 23 balls into the innings.
A balanced partnership
Jake Weatherald and Travis Head were faced with a tricky proposition with 30 overs remaining in the day’s play. The Redbacks needed quick runs in order to set NSW a total worth chasing on day four, but they also needed to consolidate given more wickets had fallen than runs had been scored when their partnership began.
The duo decided to adhere to the age-old adage that states the best form of defence is attack and set about turning the scoreboard over at a solid rate. Head got off the mark with a crunching six on the offside, while Weatherald found the boundary rope consistently via his trademark crisp cover drives and cuts. Head would fall to Lyon with just three overs remaining in the day’s play, but while at the crease, he and Weatherald added 77 runs to calm the nerves in the Redbacks dressing room heading into the final day of an enthralling contest.
South Australia will begin day four with a lead of 209 runs and seven wickets in hand.
08 March 2021