Webster and Hope secure equalizer for Tasmania amid Western Australia’s late flourish

 – Gudstory

Webster and Hope secure equalizer for Tasmania amid Western Australia’s late flourish – Gudstory

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Tasmania 439 and 129 for 5 (Webster 32*, Hope 27*, Haskett 2-17) Face with Western Australia 574 for December 8 (Whitman 188, Bancroft 91, Turner 82*, Bell 3-80)

Western Australia recorded an impressive win over Sheffield Shield at a quiet WACA Stadium, but Tasmania held on to force a draw.

After just 18 wickets had fallen in the first 10 sessions, the match unexpectedly came alive late on day four when the West Australian attack tore apart Tasmania’s faltering batting order.

Tasmania wobbled at 70 for 5 early in the final session before Beau Webster and Brad Hope guided them to safety.

“It was nice to hold on,” Webster said. “It was a different wicket for the WACA…it was a different kind of challenge than we were used to coming out west.”

Junior infielder Corey Rocciccioli continued his strong start to the Shield season as he targeted rough power to particularly trouble left-handed hitters. He finished with five wickets and looms as an important player for the national selectors.

Speedster Lance Morris was impressed with his return as he had not played first-class cricket since March as he was on his way back from a back injury that kept him out of the Ashes.

Morris, whose workload was managed, had his trademark aggression and regularly reached speeds of around 140km/h. He took three wickets from 32 overs for the match, but will be rested for WA’s next Shield match against South Australia in Adelaide from October 26.

The late fireworks almost overshadowed the lifeless WACA surface as batting uncharacteristically dominated almost throughout. Captains Sam Whiteman and Jordan Silk came close to achieving double centuries in high-scoring first innings from both teams.

It was a different move used on the slow surface of the opening Shield match when WA easily beat Victoria. The ground is still feeling the effects of Australian rules football being played on it during the off-season.

“With the influence of football there was no grass on the wicket,” Whiteman said. “I knew it was going to be better, but I thought we did a good job there to put Tasmania under pressure to get a close result.”

The West Australians should be rejoicing in their late efforts with the prospect of a desperate result looking clear when the final day began.

Trailing by two runs, there was no sign of an early announcement from WA, with the usually aggressive Ashton Turner – Perth Scorchers captain – content with a conservative approach.

But Turner and Charles Stubo, who hit their first first-class half-centuries, found their footing before lunch as Tasmania turned to nine overs for the boundary.

After WA declared at lunch with a 135-run lead, all eyes turned to Tasmania opener Caleb Jewell who fell to Morris for a first-innings golden duck.

Jewell’s nerves were calmed when he drove Morris elegantly on his second ball as it looked like the match was about to continue in motion. But any thoughts of a breezy net session were put to rest when Rocchiccioli boxed opener Tim Ward at 1lb.

Towering left-arm spinner Liam Haskett threatened with the bounce and quickly got the better of Charlie Wakim and Silke, who was upset after being caught at short leg by his hip.

It was left to Joel and Matthew Wade to steady the Tasmanians over tea. But the twists and turns continued when Jewell was spectacularly bowled by a burning Maurice Yorker and then Wade was trapped by Rociccioli in a decision he clearly disagreed with.

Jewell has scored just 27 runs in his last three innings after starting the Shield season with 87 against South Australia. He is considered a contender to replace opener David Warner, who is set to retire from Test cricket this summer.

WA were on a roll before Webster, Hope and eventually the pitch thwarted their bid for a memorable victory.

Tristan Lavallette is a journalist based in Perth


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