Lotus365 Lotus365 News Sheffield Shield – Western Australia eye big win over Victoria in season opener

Sheffield Shield – Western Australia eye big win over Victoria in season opener

Sheffield Shield – Western Australia eye big win over Victoria in season opener post thumbnail image

Stumps Victoria 256 and 64 for 3 (Kellaway 33*, Rocchiccioli 2-6) trail Western Australia 481 (Bancroft 122, Wyllie 94, Goodwin 63, Turner 57, Sutherland 3-66, Boland 3-101) by 161 runs

Aaron Hardie ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/aaron-hardie-1124283) continued to elevate his standing with a strong all-round performance on day three as Western Australia closed in on victory against Victoria at the WACA.

Trailing by 225 runs after the first innings, Victoria’s second innings started poorly when Will Pucovski edged Hardie to slip for a second ball duck.

One-time Test opener Pucovski had batted through the first session on day one in his comeback after 12 months away from first-class cricket having fought battles with concussion and mental health. But he had no answer to blossoming allrounder Hardie, who took the new ball after having taken three wickets in Victoria’s first innings.

Hardie, whose bowling loads were managed late last season, was unlucky not to add another during a menacing five-over opening burst.

Victoria managed to put up some fight late in the day after spending 157 overs toiling in the field. But veteran opener Travis Dean, who top-scored in the first innings with 87, fell to offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/corey-rocchiccioli-1205981) for 22 after sharing a half-century partnership with Campbell Kellaway ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/campbell-kellaway-1295842).

Kellaway, who played for Australia A recently, was dropped by Ashton Turner ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/ashton-turner-500268) at slip off Rocchiccioli just before stumps, but he was caught behind later in the over for 33 to dent Victoria’s attempts to salvage a draw.

In the morning, resuming at 237 for 2, trailing by 19 runs, WA eyed a big lead but opener Cameron Bancroft ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/cameron-bancroft-501011) added just one run to his overnight score of 121. He was trapped lbw by Scott Boland ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/scott-boland-446548), who struck in his second over after bowling 19 overs without reward on day two.

But Hardie and Jayden Goodwin ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/jayden-goodwin-1202237) shared an 88-run partnership to frustrate Victoria and strengthen WA’s hold over their Shield opener.

Hardie, who recently made his international debut, was in an aggressive mood and hit 48 to liven up a match that had crawled during a sedate day two. With national selector Tony Dodemaide in the terraces, Hardie quickly powered WA into the lead as Victoria’s strong attack toiled in sweltering conditions.

Boland and skipper Will Sutherland produced typically lionhearted performances to finish with three wickets apiece, but offspinner Todd Murphy finished with just 1 for 141 off 32 overs.

Victoria were unable to make inroads after ending Bancroft’s 319-ball knock, with Hardie and Goodwin batting through to lunch.

Left-hand batter Jayden, the son of Murray Goodwin, who played 19 Tests and 71 ODIs for Zimbabwe, was rock solid in defence and picked off the bowling, occasionally showcasing aggression against Murphy.

Goodwin played two Shield matches in November 2021, but hadn’t been sighted at this level until now. With WA missing several first-choice players, Goodwin seized his opportunity at No. 4 having replaced the injured Hilton Cartwright.

After surviving a tricky period in the shadows late on day two, Goodwin passed his highest first-class score of 22 and his confidence grew alongside Hardie.

Shortly after lunch, Goodwin, 21, reached his maiden half-century with a boundary off Sutherland before being reprieved next ball when Boland dropped a sitter at mid-on.

The tireless Sutherland was finally rewarded when he dismissed Hardie and Goodwin in quick succession.

But Victoria’s mood soured when Turner, who revived his first-class career with a century in last season’s Shield final, smashed 57 off 33 balls, including a straight six which lodged in a seat to stop play.

Turner, the Perth Scorchers skipper, produced belligerent shots reminiscent of the BBL to thrill the smattering of fans, many of whom had sat through the dreary proceedings on day two.

After the late strikes gave the hosts a stranglehold, WA’s faithful are bracing a season-opening victory.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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