Paris, Hardie relish lively WACA surface to topple South Australia

Paris, Hardie relish lively WACA surface to topple South Australia

Western Australia Route 26 by 0 (Bancroft 15*, Whiteman 9*) South Australia 192 (McAndrew 50*, Hardie 3-11, Paris 3-32) by 166 runs

Left-arm quick Joel Paris tormented South Australia again as Western Australia’s pace attack enjoyed a livelier WACA surface on day one of the Sheffield Shield.

After South Australia were bowled out for 192, openers Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman survived a difficult period in the final hour. Bancroft, the leading run-scorer this Shield season, was dismissed by Ben Manenti at the second slip of nine off seamer Brendan Doggett to cap a dismal day for the Redbacks.

He has taken 16 wickets at an average of 12.31 since returning from a hamstring injury sustained during the Australia A v New Zealand A contest in August.

Paris, 30, who played two ODIs against India in 2016, has a history of injury problems and is often overlooked amid WA’s fast stars, but is emerging as an intriguing prospect for national selectors.

“My main goal is to play continuous cricket. I feel like guys who play domestic cricket really well and consistently for a number of years always have a chance. [of higher honours]”Paris said.

After their remarkable three-run victory over Queensland, South Australia came in with confidence and faced a WA team looking to bounce back from a nightmare trip to Sydney, where they were thrashed by NSW in the Shield and Marsh Cup.

WA’s first home Shield matches this season against Victoria and Tasmania were played on slow surfaces and the famous bowling green felt the effects of the Australian rules football being played on it during the off-season.

The pitch during the drawn game in Tasmania was particularly lifeless and WA officials were unhappy with it. As expected, a hard, grassy surface was laid out for this match and beaming WA captain Whiteman, who charged onto the surface after the Tasmania match, did not hesitate to dive first.

Amid sunny, warm conditions, it almost felt like the WACA of tradition with Paris bowling a great length and the ball moving menacingly off the surface.

Paris threatened on almost every delivery and was adamant that he had trapped opener Henry Hunt at short leg in the third over. He was left frustrated when his strident appeal was rejected, but Paris’s disappointment was short-lived when he caught Hunt lbw off the next ball.

Hunt, who had been viewed as a Test prospect last summer, was hoping to build on his century against Queensland after a slow start to the season.

The Redbacks fell further when Daniel Drew edged a bowled delivery from seamer Aaron Hardie to Bancroft for the first of his five catches at second slip.

South Australia were in danger of succumbing to Paris, whose first spell was 1 for 8 in six overs. But opener Jake Carder and Nathan McSweeney withstood the attack as the Redbacks inched towards lunch at 56 for 2.

Speedster Lance Morris, who delivered deliveries at 145kmh before lunch, was rewarded for a tremendous spell after the break with a spectacular delivery to knock the top of McSweeney’s off stump.

Paris dismissed Jake Lehmann and Bancroft again had a great opportunity for a second slip before Hardie and seamer Charles Stobo took control.

Only a quickfire unbeaten half-century from Nathan McAndrew defied the WA attack as they totally dominated the 44-run last-wicket partnership with Jordan Buckingham, but South Australia have their work cut out for them on day two.

The teams play for the Rod Marsh Cup, which was announced before the day’s play. WA cricket legend Marsh, a combative batsman and wicketkeeper who played 96 Tests for Australia between 1970 and 1984, was director and coach of the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide after his playing career. He died, aged 74, in March 2022.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth.