WA pace attack hits back on ball-dominated day, SA lead by only 107

WA pace attack hits back on ball-dominated day, SA lead by only 107

South Australia 192 and 119 for 6 (Nielsen 42*) advantage Western Australia 204 (Cartwright 40, McAndrew 3-39, Buckingham 3-46) by 107 runs

Western Australia’s formidable pace attack once again dominated South Australia on a grassy WACA surface to regain dominance of a frantic Sheffield Shield contest.

Leading by just 12 runs after being bowled out for 204, WA took the lead in the final session as the Redbacks fell to 119 for 6 at stumps on the second day.

Left-arm quick Joel Paris continued his strong form after dismissing opener Jake Carder for a duck in the first over. Sharing the new ball after taking 3 for 11 in South Australia’s first innings, seamer Aaron Hardie trapped Daniel Drew lbw with the Redbacks still trailing by seven runs.

Opener Henry Hunt’s disappointing match ended when he was caught behind in the 16th over off the quick Charlie Stobo. Jake Fraser-McGurk, who recently smashed List A’s fastest century, went for a cocky approach only to hit Stobo straight to cover for a sloppy dismissal.

Lance Morris bowled with his trademark hostility and was rewarded with wickets from captain Jake Lehmann and Nathan McSweeney.

Paris was unable to complete his eighth over as he limped after feeling tightness in his left groin. Given his long injury history, she may not take any chances on day three.

An attractive tackle late in the day by wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen has given the Redbacks hope of setting up a tough target on a bowler-friendly surface.

A result is almost certain on day three in a notable contrast to the high-scoring draw between WA and Tasmania in the last Shield match played at the WACA.

After a dismal opening day, South Australia were desperate for early wickets in a bid to get back into the competition. The fact that the Redbacks were pushed onto a spicy platform after batting first had mirrored the corresponding encounter from last season.

In the back of their minds would have been the three-century partnership of Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman en route to a big win in WA.

But the Redbacks are proving to be a more determined team this season led by their dangerous attack, which has brought them back into the competition. Hard-working seamer Nathan McAndrew struck early when Ben Manenti caught Whiteman at second slip.

It was a relief for Manenti, who left Bancroft at the end of the first day. His mood improved further when Bancroft fell for 20 after clipping Jordan Buckingham’s short wide delivery straight to point.

It was an unusually reckless dismissal for the disciplined Bancroft, who has again been the standout batsman in the Shield as he hopes to return to Test cricket.

WA’s hopes of batting just once in the match took a nosedive when Teague Wyllie was bowled from the inside edge by a Buckingham inswinger, who continued his eye-catching start to the season.

Buckingham, 23, has been identified by the national selectors as a standout pace prospect having recently played for Australia A. He used the conditions superbly and conjured a menacing swing to bowl effectively with quick Brendan Doggett, who bowled consistently around of 140 km/h.

With WA stagnant, Hardie decided to counter-attack and took advantage of shorter deliveries from Buckingham to regain the innings alongside Hilton Cartwright.

But Hardie fell on the stroke of lunch after being thrown by Manenti, who conjured a spin from the surface much like his counterpart Corey Rocchiccioli a day earlier.

Cartwright then fell to Buckingham after the break as momentum swung towards an increasingly confident Redbacks, who sniffed a lead when Jayden Goodwin ran out after a horrendous mix-up with Josh Philippe.

It was a bitter disappointment for Goodwin, 21, son of former Zimbabwe Test batsman Murray Goodwin, who found a place in WA’s powerful batting order after veteran Ashton Turner was ruled out through injury.

WA looked headed for a deficit of 146 for 8 before Rocchiccioli and Stobo, who bats in the top four for his home team in Perth, effectively swung the bat in a 58-run free partnership.

The momentum returned to WA and its players did not abandon it.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth.