Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Redbacks swing into action against watchful WA
The hosts have all the momentum heading into day three after Chadd Sayers expertly swung the bat and ball
Andrew Ramsey at Adelaide Oval
15 February 2020, 07:29 PM AEST
A couple of cameo efforts from Chadd Sayers – firstly with the bat, and then a double-strike with the Dukes ball – have ensured South Australia notionally retains the upper-hand in their vital Marsh Sheffield Shield match against a patiently defiant Western Australia.
Despite a typically assured innings from recently crowned men's domestic player of the year Shaun Marsh (63 from 111 balls), WA made slow – occasionally stultifying – progress towards the hosts' first innings of 398 and ended day two 4-165.
The visitors resume tomorrow 225 runs in deficit, with Cameron Green 25 not out and Josh Philippe unbeaten on 20.
Even the usually free-scoring Marsh found the going tough against SA's relentless four-pronged seam attack of Sayers, Daniel Worrall, Nick Winter and Wes Agar who conceded just 17 boundaries between them across 79 shared overs today.
But Marsh's measured knock was made to look positively cavalier alongside his former Test teammate Cameron Bancroft who laboured more than three hours and faced 155 balls in scoring 25.
After earning a call-up to Australia's Test squad for the two-match Domain Series against Pakistan despite losing his place in the starting XI during last year's Ashes, Bancroft has struggled for runs throughout the current Shield season.
The 27-year-old was dismissed in similar circumstances – caught by close fielders close-in or behind the wicket on the leg side – six times in seven innings earlier this summer, in which he's yet to reach 50 in 10 completed innings and is averaging just 14.11 with a high score of 30.
While the right-hander avoided the ignominy of another leg-side dismissal today, having defended his wicket studiously for almost 200 minutes after taking 24 deliveries to find his first run, he ultimately shouldered arms to a straight delivery from Sayers that clipped the top of off-stump.
Only two types of leave... #SheffieldShield pic.twitter.com/ySdFX6dqAZ— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 15, 2020
Bancroft's battle was emblematic of his team's progress, as he and rookie opening partner Jake Carder managed just 21 runs from the 19 overs bowled prior to lunch and a first-wicket stand of 32 before Carder (21) fell in the 29th over of the innings.
The left-hander edged a catch that was smartly snared by Callum Ferguson at slip from the bowling of Agar, who had been named Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards earlier this week.
Despite scoring centuries in two of his three previous first-class outings at Adelaide Oval, Marsh found it tough to lift the tempo upon joining Bancroft and the pair added 51 runs from more than 21 overs before Bancroft's misjudgement.
Sayers then struck a second telling blow in his following over when allrounder Marcus Stoinis, fresh from batting exploits that saw him named player of this BBL|09, was adjudged lbw having scored one.
It was Sayers' 300th first-class wicket, a milestone the 32-year-old could scarcely have contemplated given he was nearing 24 when he made his first-class debut.
"It's obviously a great achievement," Sayers said at day's end, having claimed 2-37 from 22 overs.
"It took a while for me to break into first-class cricket, so to be standing here with 300 first-class wickets I'm chuffed.
"Hopefully there's a few more to come."
What a player 🙌 Another huge milestone for @Chaddsayers27! #SheffieldShield pic.twitter.com/BLbC1kcJqO— West End Redbacks (@WestEndRedbacks) February 15, 2020
After Stoinis's dismissal, Marsh slowly found his groove and reached his fifth half-century of a Shield season that has already netted him two hundreds (and a top score of 214 against titleholders Victoria) before he was undone by a bouncer from Agar.
The acting WA skipper - who is standing in as captain for younger brother Mitchell, currently in South Africa with the men's limited-overs squad - was too early on an attempted pull shot against a ball that seemed to balloon from the surface and caught the toe of Marsh's bat on the way to keeper Harry Nielsen.
Marsh's dismissal for 63 means SA's Tom Cooper – who scored 99 in his team's first innings yesterday – remains the leading runs scorer of the current season, albeit just four ahead of the WA veteran.
WA's glacial scoring rate came in stark contrast to the home team's efforts on the opening day and during a breezy first hour today, after they were sent into bat in cool and cloudy conditions that have persisted throughout the match to date.
The Redbacks finished Friday 8-352, and some lusty hitting in today's opening hour from Sayers (58no) and Worrall (36 from 43 balls) lifted their total to 389 at a rate of almost four runs per over.
Having reduced fourth-placed SA to 5-143 midway through day one, the ease with which the bottom half of the Redbacks' batting found runs provided due warning as to how few demons lurked in an evenly grassed but slow-ish Adelaide Oval pitch.
WA's cause was also not helped by some lacklustre bowling and poor fielding, most notably the catch that keeper Josh Inglis spilled from a miscued pull shot by Worrall (26) off Matthew Kelly that flew straight up into the air but bounced out of the keeper's gloves like a brick hitting a mattress.
Sayers posted his highest first-class score, eclipsing the 56 the ex-Test seamer scored against Victoria at the MCG last summer and fashioned a 74-run ninth-wicket stand with Worrall who copped a frightening blow on the helmet from a bouncer by left-arm quick Joel Paris on Friday evening.
"It's a nice wicket once you get in," Sayers said.
'There's still enough in it, and obviously with the Dukes ball it swings for 80 overs so they found it tough to score.
"I thought we bowled beautifully.
"The boys stuck at it pretty well out in the field, and we were probably pretty unlucky there not to have five, six or seven (wickets).
"Perhaps the only fault was we could have brought the stumps into play a little bit more, but with the Dukes it's a little bit hard to control.
"We need to be on tomorrow morning, and hopefully we can get into their tail pretty quickly with the (second) new ball."
WA remain in second place on the Shield ladder, but less than nine points ahead of the Redbacks who recorded their first outright win almost two years against Tasmania in the round of matches that preceded the mid-season break.
South Australia XI: Henry Hunt, Jake Weatherald, Callum Ferguson, Travis Head (c), Tom Cooper, Will Bosisto, Henry Nielsen (wk), Nick Winter, Chadd Sayers, Daniel Worrall, Wes Agar
Western Australia XI: Cameron Bancroft, Jake Carder, Shaun Marsh (c), Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Josh Philippe, Josh Inglis (wk), Joel Paris, Matthew Kelly, Liam Guthrie, David Moody