Tassie and WA produce one for the ages

by Patrick O’Keeffe

The Sheffield Shield competition is just grand. Occasionally, the competition turns out an absolute pearler of a game. Take this little blinder of an encounter which finished on Friday afternoon at the beautiful Bellerive Oval. I observed from a distance, receiving updated scores via the internet over the four days. It is interesting what bare statistics reveal on such occasions. It is almost like following a distant Ashes Test Match via Morse code, only with less description.

Day one, George Bailey of Tasmania won the toss, sent Western Australia in. By stumps, WA had reached 4 for 244 off 96 overs. A 21-year-old called Luke Towers opened the batting and notched up a cool 124.

Day two, Brett Geeves takes two early wickets. Tasmania looks the goods. Luke Ronchi, recovering after a dreadful 2008, steps in to whip up a brisk 122 from 134 balls. Noffke goes for 61 two balls later, and the innings is declared on 442. Tasmania get away well, reaching 1 for 91 at stumps. With two days to play, an outright result seems unlikely. However, things happen quickly in Shield cricket.

Day three. An early wicket brings George Bailey to the crease. Recently entrusted with the captaincy of his side, Bailey has taken his game to a new level. He is playing himself into contention for a spot in the international side. Bailey joins Doolan at the crease, and the two batsmen add a further 177 in quick time. Doolan departs with 135 to his name, another to reach his maiden first class hundred in this match. Marsh, then Bailey follow, and a sporting declaration is made on 296. Geeves strikes twice early, removing both openers. This brings Swampy’s eldest son together with Adam Voges. They are still there at stumps, with the score at 2 for 121. WA lead by 267 with a day to play. Quick runs to be made in the morning, a declaration, and a competitive total. I think that is how it goes.

Day 4. Four hundred and fifty one runs are scored in ninety seven overs on a fourth day wicket. WA rattle along to 201, taking 80 runs off the first 12 overs of the day. Voges declares with himself on 90 not out. The target is 348 off 85 overs. Surely, this is a bridge too far. I spend the day writing essays, monitoring the live score on Cricinfo. Tasmania go to lunch at 0 for 44 off 19 overs. No, it’s not on. Shame. They go to tea at 2 for 147 off 48 overs, having scored 103 in the session. Good going, however they are traveling well below the required run rate. Ed Cowan is still there, with him is Bailey.

At this stage, I’m working away, still taking a casual interest in the score. However, my attention has become focused on my SA Redbacks who are putting the Victorians to the sword at the MCG. Well, an ex-Victorian is causing the Victorians some grief. I appreciate this, as an ex-South Australian living in Victoria.

I turn on News Radio in time to hear the sports report. Bailey is going at a run a ball, Cowan is still there. Perhaps it is on. No, it can’t be. Tassie need 201 runs in a session. They do have wickets in hand, which is so important, as the Channel Nine commentary team have stated on occasions to numerous to count. I finish my essay, curse at my computer for no particular reason and head off to athletics training.

I run laps around Arden St. Feeling good tonight. My coach shouts instructions. I run faster. We talk athletics. We talk about the Zatopek 10 which took place at Olympic Park last night. Collis Birmingham won the 10,000m Australian Championship in a tick over 28 minutes. Outside his best, but still very good on a wet track. Birmingham apparently whipped through his last 1,000m in 2 minutes, 27 seconds. Eloise Wellings took out the women’s 10,000m in fine style, defeating a high class field. Despite a few downpours, it was a top night of racing. It is a shame that only the die hard athletics people were there to see it. Thinking back to the Bellerive Oval, I wonder if George Bailey is thinking the same thing about the pulsating contest he is involved in.

Back on my bike. I arrive home. Switch on the computer. I have to look up an athletics meet I’m thinking about competing in. But of course, what happened in the cricket. Klinger made a double ton. Good on him. I check the score in the Tasmania vs Western Australia clash. Astonishingly, Tasmania have pulled off a remarkable win. I try and piece together what happened. Well, they finished on 9 for 351, so they won by a wicket. WA bowled their allotted 85 overs, so the game was decided on the final ball. Tasmania needed 348 for the win, so a batsman must have struck a boundary off that final ball. This batsman was the stand in keeper, Brady Jones. He made 9 off 3 balls, batting at 10. Hit the last two balls for four. Brett Dorey pulled a calf muscle in pursuit of the shot that tied the game. What drama! When Krejza was dismissed with the score on 342, Tasmania required 6 runs with one wicket in hand. Somehow, they did it. What an absolute blinder, and I never saw a single ball. For the record, Cowan went on to make 152 and snared man of the match honours.

Comments

  1. George Bailey must surely be next in line, particularly in the short form.

  2. Peter Flynn says:

    Patrick,

    Awesome game of cricket. Thanks for a great report.

    Bailey is starting to get mentioned for higher honours.

    There are a couple of young NSW cricketers that might be ahead of him however.

  3. Outstanding win by the big V on the weekend, too. They were completely gorn for about 2 days but fought back. Will be hard to beat again this summer.

  4. Hi Peter,
    Which players would you regard as up and coming?

  5. Peter Flynn says:

    Tim,

    Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Moses Henriques and Philip Hughes.

    There are huge wraps on Smith in particular.

    A couple of years ago, NSW made the decision to blood youngsters with the view to producing Australian players.

    I think they should be lauded for it notwithstanding the rightful observation that NSW players are geographically favoured.

  6. Great foresight there Peter, with Steven Smith called in for Hauritz. Whilst he is dripping with potential, my first thoughts were, is it too early? His first class stats are not flattering, well at least his bowling figures aren’t anyway with an average of 75.18

    That said, our spin stocks are in a parlous state at the moment, look at the stats so far in the Shield – McGain (13 wickets @ 34), Krejza (13 @ 47) and O’Brien (12 @ 42).

  7. Peter Flynn says:

    Tim,

    Agree mate. Smith is not a good ‘shadow’ selection for Hauritz in Perth.

    He is a number six bat who bowls some handy leggies.

    Krejza is an abrasive character. Word is that he is not on Ricky’s Xmas card list.

  8. I’ve heard that too, I’m not comfortable at all with this line up, and what worries me is given how fast we are chewing through bowlers we are starting to resemble England of the 1990’s.

    What happened to Casson? Is he injured?

  9. I agree that it is too early for Smith, though he is a talent. With that said, it is a worry that young spinners like Cullen Bailey and Dan Cullen have looked the goods, been awarded contracts, then dropped out of State cricket. Aged 20, Cullen took 43 wickets in a Shield season, though is playing club cricket 5 years later.

    Casson had been dropped from the NSW team, though was back playing at the start of this season. He was born with a congenital heart problem called Fallot’s syndrome, and last I heard, this had been causing him a fair amount of grief. This could account for his recent omission from the state team.

  10. That is tragic news for Casson, I hope his recovery is swift and that he is back playing cricket again soon.

    Cullen Bailey took 4/62 in the first innings against WA before smashed in the second dig. Maybe a sign of brighter things to come?

    Out of interest, if the Pakistanis are decimated by injury could Khawaja get called up for them given he was born in Islamabad? Or would the fact that he played Under 19’s for Australia rule him ineligible?

Leave a Comment

*