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WA openers spearhead reply



Unbeaten centuries for openers Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman as part of an unbroken stand of 232 helped Western Australia defy Tasmania on day three at Gladys Elphick Park in Adelaide.


WA head in to the final day leading by 102 runs after Tasmania's tail wagged in the opening session of the third day, every batsman reaching double figures as the Tigers reached 432 in their first innings.


Matthew Wade's side resumed the day at 5-273 still trailing by 29 runs, with Ben McDermott (83*) and Beau Webster (2*) at the crease.


McDermott fell early in the day for 90 to speedster Lance Morris, who had a second scalp for the day and third for the innings when Shaun Marsh plucked a one handed stunner at first slip moving to his left, Webster out for 14.


Tasmania moved in to the lead on first innings with three wickets in hand, but when Tom Andrews became Matt Kelly's first victim of the match with the score on 341 a quick end to the innings seemed likely.


But the Tigers tail had other ideas, Nathan Ellis (41), Peter Siddle (29*) and Jackson Bird (39 from just 19 balls) adding another 91 runs for the last two wickets to give their side a very handy first innings advantage by the time their innings ended on the stroke of lunch.


Morris claimed the final wicket to claim his first five wicket haul in just his second first class match, a shining light on a tough morning for the bowlers.


Faced with a large first innings deficit openers Sam Whiteman and Cameron Bancroft began cautiously, before Whiteman began to find his fluency, driving Jackson Bird for a pair of off-side boundaries.


The runs began to flow in the second hour of the second session, Bancroft finding the bowling of Ellis far less threatening than Bird and Siddle as he cracked several boundaries off the back foot through the off-side.


Try as they might the Tigers couldnt find a breakthrough, no real chances created on a wicket that was now without any real assistance for the bowlers.


Whiteman drove the final ball of the session through the covers to take the partnership beyond 100, and it was more of the same in the final session as the pair grinded the bowlers down in both moving beyond 50.


Whiteman's sparkling form continued with his third Shield hundred in four matches, reaching the landmark with a single behind point off left arm spinner Tom Andrews, the left hander putting himself in contention for an Australian call-up with another fine hand for his state.


Bancroft's hundred arrived before the close as well, his first three figure score for Western Australia since February 2019 having averaged 13 in seven Shield matches last season.


A draw is the favoured result with one day to play, WA finishing the day at 0-232 with Whiteman on 117 and Bancroft 103 to lead by 102 runs.


Victoria needs eight wickets on the final day to beat South Australia outright at Glenelg Oval after opening batsmen Will Pucovski (255*) and Marcus Harris (239) broke the all time record partnership record in adding 486 runs for the first wicket.


Travis Head responded with a fine century for the Redbacks to make 107*, Henry Hunt (55*) helping his skipper add 162 but still plenty of work to be done to avoid an innings defeat on the final day, still trailing by 192 runs just to make the Vics bat a second time at 2-172.


Play resumes tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM AWST, with coverage on 91.3 Sport FM courtesy of cricket.com.au.


IMAGE: ESPN Cricinfo.



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