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Whiteman, Hardie tons put WA on the brink



Western Australia looks set to break it's 23 year Sheffield Shield drought, batting themselves in to an impregnable position on day four against Victoria at the WACA.


Centuries from Sam Whiteman and Aaron Hardie took WA's lead from 171 to 393 by the close of play, only needing a draw to claim the Sheffield Shield after securing the bonus points required on first innings on day three.


The game resumed evenly poised with WA 3/91, Whiteman and young gun Teague Wyllie at the crease.


A sedate opening hour saw just 18 runs scored as the pair saw off the threat of Scott Boland and Will Sutherland, Wyllie succumbing just moments after the drinks break as he edged to Victorian captain Peter Handscomb at first slip from the bowling of Mitchell Perry.


Josh Philippe fell in the next over as he chipped Jon Holland to Sutherland at cover, Western Australia 5/110 leading by 190 and the game on an even keel.


Whiteman remained form for Western Australia, the left hander backing up his first innings score of 85 with another half century to steer his team to lunch with Aaron Hardie.


The second new ball arrived for Victoria but the wickets did not in the second session as Whiteman and Hardie began to flourish, Whiteman reaching a richly deserved century from 260 balls with a late cut off Holland, a signature shot on a fine innings.


Hardie reached fifty as WA went through the second session without losing a wicket, taking the lead towards 300 and batting Victoria out of the match in the process.


The 23 year old all-rounder came out playing his shots after the tea interval sensing a wounded and wilting Victorian bowling attack, Whiteman continuing his marathon batting vigil.


Hardie joined his team mate in reaching three figures, a crunching on drive for four a superb way to reach a second first class hundred on the biggest of stages.


Whiteman departed after batting for more than six hours, misjudging a leave off the bowling of Sutherland and being bowled for a magnificent 122, facing 338 balls and striking eleven fours.


Hardie batted to the close on 119, Joel Paris with him on 11 to finish at 6/313, leading by 393 with 90 overs remaining in the match and unlikely to gift their opponents an opportunity to chase on the final day.


Having started so well Victoria simply were grinded in to the dust by a determined WA side, now facing an almost impossible task to force an outright result on the final day, the Sheffield Shield seemingly on the way back to the West after 23 long years.


You can hear ball by ball descriptions of the final day on 91.3 Sport FM from 10am.


IMAGE: The West Australian.