Victoria Bushrangers v South Australia Redbacks
Sent in to bat, the Redbacks made a strong start and punished the Vics, who hadn’t come in the right mindset. Jake Weatherald (88), Travis Head (130) and Tom Cooper (97) had no troubles on a good wicket, and SA finished the first day at 5-360.
To Victoria’s credit, they came back strongly on the second day, bowling out the Redbacks for 405.
With one-Test veteran Joe Mennie and no-Test hopeful Chadd Sayers in the attack, the Bushrangers found themselves in dire straights before long, struggling at 5-137 and still 267 runs in arrears. Thankfully for the home side, Aaron Finch struck his sixth first class ton and new keeper Sammy Harper posted his highest score to date, 80 off 154 balls.
The tail wagged into day three and the Redbacks were suddenly batting with a lead of only 38. Head and Jake Lehmann looked solid after the fall of a couple of early wickets, but it was Marcus Stoinis and Jon ‘Ducky’ Holland who sparked a collapse of 7-57. Holland’s 4-25 off 7 overs would prove to be match-winning.
The 201 runs required for victory was reached in the second session of the final day, with Victoria five wickets down and Cameron White (40) and Harper (26) at the crease.
Tasmania Tigers v New South Wales Blues
Like at the MCG, Tasmania won the toss and sent their opposition in to bat. At the close of the first day, both captains would have regretted the decision. Fresh from a Test axing, Peter Nevill strode to the crease at 3-129 and his team in a tight situation. The last time he batted in Hobart for his state, he whacked 235 not out. On this occasion he would be unbeaten once again, but would only be 179* when his side declared. The captain Moises Henriques got 115 of his own, and the Blues declared at 5-495.
The Tigers put up very little resistance in reply, with the unerring accuracy of Trent Copeland (6-54 from 33 overs) a bit factor in the meek response. Only young batsmen Beau Webster (41) and Jake Doran (66) offered anything of substance, but midway through the third day Tasmania were all out for 209 and 268 behind.
A quick 26 over innings for the Blues stretched the lead to 414 and by stumps on day three, Tasmania had already lost Jordan Silk (1) to, yep, Trent Copeland.
So would the Tigers bat out the day, or could the Blues take 9 wickets in the day? It looked likely when George Bailey (35) fell in the 33rd over and Tassie were 4-81. From there though, it all went pear shaped for the Blues, as Webster (80) and James Faulkner (100) both went unbeaten for the next 70 overs. It was Faulkner’s second first class hundred and a very mature and resilient innings.
Queensland Bulls v Western Australia Warriors
Joe Burns (68) was back in the runs for Queensland as the Bulls batted first in Townsville. He and Marnus Labuschagne (79) got their state off to a good start, but the best knock of the innings belonged to Jack Wildermuth who hit 93, which included 13 boundaries.
After Queensland were all out for 422, Cameron Bancroft (103) ensured he’s a batsman not to be forgotten, with a composed and committed century, his first of the season. Hilton Cartwright (84), who we might see in the Chappell-Hadlee series in the next few weeks, offered the best assistance to Bancroft’s innings. The Warriors strategically declared behind at 6-340 in order to make a game of it.
And, it looked like the gamble had a chance of paying off. Early on the final day, Queensland was reduced to 6-151. Mitch Marsh (4-38) took four wickets and looked dangerous with the ball. But, the ever reliable Chris Hartley (53) and all-rounder Michael Neser (53) put on a 101 partnership in 14 overs which set WA 335 runs to win in just over two sessions.
It looked for all the world that WA would hang on for the draw with Michael Klinger (65) and Ashton Turner (49) at the crease, but the pair fell in the space of three overs and the Warriors’ line-up crumbled, losing the last five wickets for 16 runs in ten overs.
Leg Spinners Update
Zamps really did have a tough game, even though he took the wicket of Travis Dean early in Victoria’s first innings. He finished with 2-102 from 24 overs, but worryingly with no maidens. In the second innings, on the pitch where Holland had success for Victoria, Zampa went wicketless from ten overs.
Was not selected for Victoria again, as Jon Holland continues to be preferred.
Was not selected for Tasmania as they opted for five paceman instead.
Swepson had a pretty good game, considering the game was dominated by the bat. His first innings included two early wickets of Jon Wells and Michael Klinger, but after that didn’t get any more break-throughs, finishing with 2-100. In the second innings he was crucial in instigating the collapse of the Warriors, taking 3-8 in a five over spell. He finished with 3-56 from 16 overs.
Eddie returned to the bowling crease to add to his 30 career first class deliveries with an over before tea on the final day, and four balls to complete Henriques’ over in the final session. He didn’t have any luck, but it was good to see he’s still got it.