All-round Agar puts WA on course
Ashton Agar's sensational Sheffield Shield match continued against South Australia, claiming 5-103 to put Western Australia in the box seat to win their season opener at Karen Rolton Oval.
Agar spun out the Redbacks lower order with support from WA debutant Cameron Gannon and some outstanding catching giving WA a 167 run first innings lead, extended to 362 by the close thanks to a century from skipper Shaun Marsh and 71 from Cameron Bancroft.
South Australia resumed at 1-178 with Jake Weatherald (104*) and Brad Davis (14*) at the crease, WA having posted 5-481 declared in their first innings.
Weatherald went almost immediately, caught behind in the opening over of the day off the bowling of Gannon to give WA an early strike.
Davis and skipper Travis Head batted out the remainder of the opening hour on a docile track for the bowlers, Head reaching 31 in adding 50 for the third wicket with Davis.
Looking to be aggressive against the spin of Agar Head perished, miscuing a sweep out of the rough to be caught at deep midwicket by Cameron Green.
Tom Cooper became Matt Kelly's first victim when he hooked the opening bowler down to fine leg, debutant Lance Morris taking a superb catch at full stretch above his head just inside the rope.
Agar then found turn out of the footmarks of left handed wicket keeper batsman Harry Nielsen's off stump, bowling him through the gate with a big spinning off break.
Davis reached a patient half century but fell in a similar fashion to Cooper, Morris with a second snare at fine leg this time off the bowling of Gannon.
The wickets continued to fall steadily as Nick Winter edged behind to give Agar a third victim, Chadd Sayers advancing without success to be bowled for seven.
Agar's fifth wicket arrived when he dismissed his younger brother Wes for four, claiming a return catch to become the first Western Australian player to take a five wicket haul and score a century in the same match since Mitchell Johnson did likewise against Victoria in November 2010.
The Redbacks couldn't avoid the follow on target of 332 when last man Lloyd Pope was caught behind off Joel Paris for a duck, South Australia all out for 313.
Agar claimed 5-103 from 33 overs, Gannon with 3-65 and Paris and Kelly with one wicket apiece.
Western Australian captain Shaun Marsh decided against enforcing the follow on, the visitors opting to bat again and score quickly to set South Australia a final day target.
Sam Whiteman struck three on-side boundaries before being caught behind for 18 on the hook shot to Chadd Sayers, the first South Australian pace bowler to taste success in the match.
Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh denied them further breakthroughs with the new ball in adding a 165 run stand for the second wicket, both men in aggressive touch.
Marsh reached a run a ball century as he changed gears in the final hour, undefeated on 102 while Bancroft fell to the last ball of the day for 71, caught by a backpedaling Tom Cooper off Sayers at deep midwicket.
At 2-195 at stumps the visitors lead is at 362, with 96 overs remaining on the fourth and final day.
In the other Sheffield Shield match Queensland is well on course for an innings victory against Tasmania, Michael Neser also completing the double of a five wicket haul and a century as he made his maiden first class ton in scoring 121, the Bulls securing a 279 run first innings lead.
At stumps Tasmania are 3-86, still needing 193 runs to make Queensland bat a second time with a day's play remaining.
Western Australia's second Shield match opponent has been adjusted, with Adam Voges' side now to play New South Wales with Victoria to only play two games as part of the first block of fixtures due to quarantine restrictions.
IMAGE: Perth Now.