The result marks champion quick Chadd Sayers’ final appearance in first class cricket, with the tireless veteran taking a wicket to remember in his last outing as a Redback. Coinciding with the Shield debut of Sam Kerber, the clash featured plenty of memorable moments at the end of a long and unusual season.
Play began in St Kilda today with South Australia needing to score quick runs for there to be any possibility of a result, and despite strong performances with the bat from Henry Hunt, Jake Lehmann and debutant Sam Kerber, the captains shook hands during the tea break to bring the contest to an end.
Henry Hunt was sublime in the final session of day three and the morning of day four, finishing with a beautifully compiled 127 highlighted by 19 boundaries. His third first class century, and second this season, Hunt showcased his full range of shots during the innings to finish his season on a high and press his case to remain in the opening position next summer.
The Redbacks won the toss on Saturday morning and begun the game with the blade, starting well with Hunt and Weatherald putting on 68 for the opening wicket. The visitors first innings would become one of missed opportunities as seven of the top eight batsmen all scored more than 25, but only two passed the 50 mark. Captain Travis Head top-scored with 78 and debutant Sam Kerber was extremely impressive for his 55 batting with the tail, but South Australia would feel they should have scored more given the number of players who got solid starts on the board.
Spinner Jon Holland was excellent for Victoria, finishing with figures of 5/82 from a tireless 33.1-over effort. The veteran claimed the wickets of Weatherald, Head, Carey, Kerber and Sayers as the home side bowled the Redbacks out for 333.
South Australia then got off to an electric start with the ball when retiring champion Chadd Sayers took a wicket with the second delivery of the innings, sending his teammates into rapturous celebrations. A series of partnerships then brought Victoria within 120 of a first innings lead before a fiery spell from Daniel Worrall saw three wickets fall for just three runs in a moment that looked to have turned the game.
Victoria dug deep on day three, with Sam Harper the standout as he brought up a brilliant maiden first class century to drag his team past South Australia’s total. The wicketkeeper finished unbeaten on 106, with valuable contributions from Mitchell Perry, Todd Murphy and Holland getting Victoria to 365, a lead of 32.
The second dig started dangerously for the Redbacks, losing their first two wickets with just five runs on the board, but Hunt, in conjunction with Harry Nielsen and Jake Lehmann, steadied the ship to ensure the visitors would end their four-day season with a draw. Chadd Sayers got a chance to wield the willow as a Redback one last time, scoring 17 from 33 deliveries in the final stages of his final first class game fixture.
The Redbacks will play Victoria in a Marsh One-Day Cup contest on Thursday to officially bring an end to their 2020/21 season. Play begins at 9.15am ACST and will be broadcast live on cricket.com.au, Foxtel and Kayo Sports.
06 April 2021