Blues bowlers stun WA in Shield before top-order fall

Blues bowlers stun WA in Shield before top-order fall

New south Wales 78 for 4 (Hughes 20, Paris 2-18) Western Australia 141 (Bancroft 34, Hatcher 4-56) for 63 runs

New South Wales bowlers cruised through Western Australia on the opening day of their Sheffield Shield match before the struggling Blues batsmen again fell narrowly on a lively SCG pitch.

As the Blues moved to end their 15-match winless streak, pacer Liam Hatcher scored 4 for 56 as two-time defending champions Western Australia made 141 on Monday.

But NSW fell behind at 78 for 4, in a position to take a first innings lead but not with the kind of command they would have liked.

They had Hatcher to thank for his position after he landed two crucial blows in a 5 for 7 WA collapse either side of lunch. He trapped the in-form Cameron Bancroft lbw early after lunch for 34, the lowest score of the Shield season opener so far.

Hatcher then made Ashton Turner lbw later in the same finish, ripping Western Australia’s heart out.

The right arm was also involved at the high point of the day when he thought he had caught Joel Paris at slip, only for the umpires to correctly rule a hit.

On the next pitch, Hatcher dug a ball short and hit Paris in the helmet, causing a long delay for a concussion check.

Nathan Lyon also bowled with great control in his second Shield match since tearing his calf muscle in the Ashes at Lord’s. The offspinner finished with figures of 2 for 18 in 18 overs, offering very few and almost no loose balls to the WA batsmen.

He had Teague Wyllie lbw for 5 in the first hour when the youngster played, before WA debutant Hamish McKenzie was also bowled lbw for three. Lyon were unlucky not to have more ground, exploiting Paris’ advantage without success. He also beat Charlie Stobo to the fly before wicketkeeper Matthew Gilkes failed to make the knock at the end of WA’s innings.

Lyon will only play one more match after this to complete their preparations for the summer international and the opening Test against Pakistan in Perth on December 14 as they rest from New South Wales’ upcoming clash against Tasmania.

Paris (24 not out) and Stobo (15) added 33 for the eighth wicket for WA, but when the visitors surrendered just after tea, NSW looked to be on top.

But as has happened in their recent defeats to Victoria and South Australia, the Blues’ top order fell apart again. Paris went 2 for 18 while eliminating Ryan Hackney and Blake Macdonald, moving the ball very well. Test hopeful Lance Morris also picked up a wicket upon his return after being rested from WA’s final match against South Australia.