Shaun Marsh correctly called the coin toss on a beautiful Saturday morning in Adelaide and had no hesitation in donning the pads with the hope of setting a strong first-innings total.
Centuries from Josh Inglis (153*) and Ashton Agar (114*) ensured that was exactly how the opening four sessions played out, as the visitors chose to declare with the scoreboard reading 5/481 after 129 overs.
For the Redbacks, Lloyd Pope starred with the ball, collecting his second five-wicket haul at first-class level. With names such as Shaun Marsh, Cameron Bancroft and Cameron Green among his victims, it was an extremely encouraging performance from the young leg-spinner that is sure to instil him with confidence for the weeks ahead.
South Australia’s first turn with the bat began positively, with Henry Hunt and Jake Weatherald combining for 125 runs before the former fell to Cameron Gannon in the 41st over. 30-year-old Brad Davis then made the most of his third opportunity at Shield level, carving out a patient 57 from 166 deliveries before becoming Gannon’s second scalp of the innings.
Weatherald was the shining light for the Redbacks however, raising his bat moments before stumps on day two, just as twilight began to work its way across the city skyline. The milestone was reward for effort for the opener, who has been working tirelessly at his game throughout the offseason alongside his teammates, in particular opening partner Henry Hunt.
Outside a 31-run performance from skipper Travis Head, allrounder Liam Scott was the only other batsman to stand challenge the WA attack, finishing the innings unbeaten on 23. Ashton Agar followed up his century with a five-wicket haul, a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact that Queensland’s Michael Neser had accomplished the same milestone earlier that day on an adjacent ground.
Western Australia began their second innings searching for quick runs, and they came in the form of a run-a-ball century from captain Shaun Marsh and 71 from opener Cam Bancroft. Declaring early on the final day with a lead of 382, the chase proved to be a bridge too far for the Redbacks, ultimately succumbing to the WA attack despite a fighting half-century from Travis Head and some stoic performances from the lower order.
Wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen and second-gamer Liam Scott mounted a spirited resistance with the bat, keeping the wicket column static for two hours before Nielsen fell to Gannon after facing 88 deliveries. The tail fought valiantly into the evening but as the clock ticked past 6.10pm, the final South Australian wicket fell to give Western Australia the outright victory with 9.3 overs in hand.
The Redbacks now look ahead to Monday October 19, when their second-round clash with Tasmania gets underway at Karen Rolton Oval. Tasmania also lost their Shield opener, going down to Queensland late on the fourth day in similar fashion so the fixture is certain to be a hotly contested one.
13 October 2020