Round 5 had two tricky wickets, a few epic collapses and provided further proof that modern batters struggle to grind out long innings. Here’s the wrap of the round.
Western Australia vs South Australia
3 Sentence Summary: Was there a wicket on the square or did the curators just cut the middle of the square slightly shorter than the rest of the grass? This game had it all! With no totals over 215, the ball dominated, but Western Australia, the best side in the competition, chased 201 on a tricky surface and won by two wickets.
Who pushed Test claims? Nathan McAndrew continues to push his case for a Test recall. Unfortunately for him, he is down the pecking order a fair way, but nonetheless, both his bowling and his batting have taken a big leap this season. He is well on his way to becoming a genuine all-rounder.
Who did not push Test claims? Jake Lehmann may not lack any of the aggressiveness of his father, but he has not yet matched his father’s output. It is unfair to compare Jake to Darren, but he will be hoping that, like his father, he scores huge runs to become entrenched in the Australian side at a later age.
Victoria vs Queensland
3 Sentence Summary: Do you think Usman Khawaja will choose to bowl first on a pitch that favours batting again, especially with an understrength side? Twice in two games, Queensland has won the toss and bowled, but it has not paid off for them. Victoria’s young attack is building nicely into a formidable Shield attack.
Who Pushed Test Claims? Scott Boland has timed his run into the Test summer to perfection. Eight wickets in this match re-establishes his place as the fourth seamer picked, if there ever was a doubt. The West Indian and Pakistani batters stand little chance when Boland is in this kind of form.
Who Did Not Push Test Claims? As a Queenslander, it pains me to see the entire Queensland team perform so poorly. However, there are issues with their batting lineup with experienced players like Matt Renshaw and Khawaja throwing away promising starts. When your two best bowlers are missing, it does make it hard to win games, but it is the batting, not the bowling, that is the main cause for concern.
Tasmania vs New South Wales
3 Sentence Summary: Tasmania dominated this game from the outset, making a big score on a reasonably benign pitch. Three tons from Tasmania’s lower middle order anchored the score, and New South Wales could not respond to that.
Despite all the improvements from the last round, New South Wales will be looking to build consistency in their performance.
Who Pushed Test Claims? Is there much more to be said about Beau Webster? He does it all with the ball, the bat and in the field. Unfortunately for him, he is stuck behind at least Cameron Green, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser and Aaron Hardie in the pecking order. However, if his purple patch continues, maybe he will leapfrog many of those players to make it into the Test side.
Who Did Not Push Test Claims? Chris Tremain bowled his heart out this game but with little reward. Two wickets is a fine outcome, but unfortunately for him, he would have wanted to have taken a few more to keep the pressure on his one-time teammate Boland.
Best XI across the first round
Stay tuned for Round 4!