South Australia began well with tight, restrictive lines and lengths, before breaking through the visitor’s opening partnership just as the sun broke through the clouds.
Cameron Green and Shaun Marsh then mounted the resistance, building a brilliant partnership throughout the middle session before the Redbacks fought back to restore order in the final session of play.
Debutant Nathan McAndrew provided the headlines for the Redbacks on day one of the Shield season, finishing with figures of 3/48 from 21 max effort overs. When taking into account the names McAndrew sent back to the sheds in Bancroft, Green and Marsh, it is fair to say his maiden performance beneath the baggy red is one to be incredibly proud of.
A new era
The day began on a special note for two first-year Redbacks, with McAndrew and Jake Carder presented fresh, bright, baggy red caps to symbolise their immediate impact on the huge group surrounding them.
Every member of the Redbacks squad and support staff poured through the white fence encircling Karen Rolton Oval half an hour before play commenced, eager to celebrate with the 645th and 646th South Australian first-class cricketers.
Head Coach Jason Gillespie took on the master of ceremonies role before handing over to Mark Harrity and Callum Ferguson for the honour of welcoming Carder and McAndrew to the inner sanctum of the state’s cricketing history. Both speakers proudly referenced the sacrifices made by the two interstate recruits, which coupled with tireless effort and relentless commitment sees them achieve a dream debut as their maiden preseason in the southern state concludes.
A brilliant debut
As the coin toss fell the visitors way, the Redbacks were sent into the field, meaning Carder would need to wait for his opportunity to impress with the bat, but when McAndrew was given an early opportunity, he immediately repaid the selectors faith.
West Australian opener Cameron Bancroft looked untroubled through the opening overs, working his way steadily into double figures from 46 deliveries faced, but it was the ball number 47, delivered by McAndrew, that brought the right-hander’s innings to an end. Rapped on the pads by a cracking ball that ducked back towards the stumps, Bancroft watched in despair as the umpire’s finger steadily rose, sending him back to the pavilion for an early lunch.
20 overs later, McAndrew was presented with another chance, one he quite literally took with both hands. Sam Whiteman send a ball from David Grant skyward, and McAndrew made quick ground as the ball arced through the midday sunshine, lunging forward and clasping it above the surface to have the team from the west 2/82.
A perfect partnership
Unfortunately for the Redbacks however, Whiteman then handed the baton to the imposing figure of Cameron Green, the name on everyone’s lips last summer. If his performance today is an indicator of what is to come, that name may travel well beyond Australian shores and roam the streets of England before long, with an historic Ashes series drawing near.
In partnership with evergreen veteran Shaun Marsh, Green was sublime on his way to an eighth first-class century. Marsh notched a ton of his own as the duo plundered a combined 199 runs. In the final session of the day, it was that man McAndrew again to break to vigil, claiming Green caught behind for 106 from 161 deliveries.
McAndrew then combined with Sam Kerber to remove Shaun Marsh, with the latter taking a classic catch at cover despite being given just a split second’s notice that the ball was paying him a visit. Marsh, as he had done all day, found the middle of his blade, but for the first time also found the field with the crunching drive. Kerber dove to his right to complete the catch and was vigorously embraced by McAndrew almost before he had time to stand.
What a sight
The best off-field moment today came in the final minutes of the tea break, when a scissor-lift housing camera equipment decided it wouldn’t mind a closer look at the action.
With the players huddled outside the boundary line preparing to begin the third session, the bright blue machine lowered to the ground, plotting a course for the playing surface. With just moments left before the resumption of play, the lift on wheels came to rest in front the billowing white fabric comprising the sightscreen and began to rise once more.
A short discussion between ground staff and umpires revealed that the strong wind had dislodged a section of the screen, requiring immediate repair. As a result, the opening overs of the final session saw the lift alternately ascending and descending depending on which end the ball was being delivered from. Outside of a small amount of harm caused to the screen, no damage was done on field as the players in the middle shrugged off the unusual intermission, continuing their cricketing tussle.
24 September 2021