Shield wrap: Teenage debutant shines, Tassie in strife
TEENAGE leg-spinner Wil Parker took two key wickets on debut to hand winless Victoria the initiative against Sheffield Shieldleaders NSW at the SCG on Saturday.
Unbeaten after six rounds, the Blues reached the midway point of the match at 4-201, still 230 runs in arrears with six wicketsin hand.
At 17 and 263 days Parker is the fourth youngest player to debut for Victoria and, after waiting five session for an opportunitywith the ball, the rookie took immediate charge.
Parker initially had one-time Test batsman Kurtis Patterson caught behind to end a dangerous 102-run third-wicket stand.
He then removed key man Moises Henriques in his next over, caught at first slip for 49.
Displaying good control the right-arm Parker had 2-12 off seven overs, before eventually ending his first day at the bowling crease with 2-29 off 11. Parker was given his chance with veteran spinner Jon Holland sidelined with a finger injury.
The Blues' opening pair put on a half-century stand only to lose Nick Larkin (21) and the in-form Daniel Hughes (31) in quicksuccession. Earlier, wicketkeeper Seb Gotch helped Victoria maintain their day one momentum with the bat by posting his maidenfirst class century.
The 26-year-old played a watchful innings to remain unbeaten on 100 when the declaration came just before lunch at 7-431.
There was support, too, from opener Travis Dean who struck an equally patient knock of 71, having retired hurt during the opening day's morning session following a blow to the groin.
Steve O'Keefe (2-69) was the pick of the NSW bowlers while Test spinner Nathan Lyon (3-113) was unable to add to his wickettally.
TASSIE TOP ORDER SKITTLED … AGAIN
Queensland captain Usman Khawaja will arrive at the Gabba on Sunday with a strong scent of victory after another day of Sheffield Shield dominance against Tasmania.
Following his destruction with the swinging Dukes ball on Friday, Michael Neser was again the catalyst as the Queensland quick found himself on a hat-trick to leave the Tigers 3-0 in their second innings.
The visitors recovered to finish Saturday 4-72, but still 107 runs shy of making Queensland bat again.
Khawaja (56 off 163) led the hosts with a patient half century, while tailenders Cameron Gannon (22) and Mark Steketee (20) put on 30 for the ninth wicket to frustrate the visitors and guide the Bulls to 257.
That came after the Tigers managed just 78 - their third-lowest Shield total - on an opening day where Neser, described by his captain as a "genius", at one stage had figures of 4-5.
"It wasn't easy scoring there … it was hard to drive on and the ball's nipping around a fair bit even in the second innings," Khawaja said. "It's not easy out there, so we'll come out, bowl well and try win this game tomorrow." Neser and Jack Wildermuth (1-11) didn't take long to rip in again on Saturday afternoon, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran and Jordan Silk all dismissed without scoring.
Ben McDermott negotiated Neser's hat-trick ball and finished the day unbeaten on 35, while Charlie Wakim (27) was a late lbw victim to Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird (4-68) was the pick of Tasmania's bowlers.
Queensland are third on the Shield ladder with three rounds to play, while the Tigers are second-last.
"I'd like to win tomorrow and then go from there," Khawaja said of his ambitions of winning a maiden Shield title with the Bulls.
"It's nice to have just four games, nothing in between, just red ball cricket and with the next two at the Gabba and WACA. Both aren't easy and are probably result games.
"So if we are on the right side of those two we could almost cement our place in the final, so there's a lot to play for."
REDBACKS NARROWLY AHEAD
South Australia hold a slim advantage at the midway point of their must-win Sheffield Shield clash against WA at Adelaide Oval, despite some extraordinarily obdurate batting from former Test opener Cameron Bancroft.
South Australia were dismissed for 389 during the morning session on Saturday, before the visitors scored at just under two runs an over to end the day at 4-165 off 83 overs.
Test opener Bancroft led the go-slow by using up 155 balls in a 3-1/2-hour knock worth just of 25, while WA managing just 50 runs during the entire middle session.
Bancroft seemed almost intent on blocking ever delivery, only to be undone when he allowed a Chadd Sayers delivery to crash into the stumps without playing a shot.
Bancroft scored seven off 63 balls during the morning session and, in concert with Jake Carder (21), WA's openers put on 32 off 28.2 overs for the first wicket.
Shaun Marsh was the main run-getter for WA with 63 from 111 balls, while Cameron Green (25no) and Josh Philippe (20no) resume on Sunday.
WA managed just four boundaries in their first three hours of their response as the home side racked up a remarkable 30 maidens.
Sayers (2-37) and Wes Agar (2-36) returned the best figures for the Redbacks bowling attack, with the former picking up his 300th first class wicket. In contrast to WA's top-order, South Australia's unfancied tailenders scored quickly during the opening session with Sayers and Daniel Worrall adding 74 for the ninth wicket.
Sayers struck 58no, the highest score of his 75-match first class career, while No. 10 Worrall was not far off his personal best with a handy 36. A win for second-placed WA would all but end the Redbacks hopes after they managed just one victory from six outings before the mid-season break.