March 28, 2023

Western Australia 444 (Whiteman 193, Bancroft 135, Manenti 5-107) beat South Australia 299 and 117 (Manenti 39, Kelly 4-23, Morris 3-52) by an innings and 28 runs

Western Australia continued their home dominance at the pace-friendly WACA with an innings-and-28-run thrashing of South Australia in the Sheffield Shield on Monday. The defending Sheffield Shield champions returned to the top of the ladder after their third straight win at their favoured ground to start the season.

Unlike WA’s previous matches at the WACA, against New South Wales and Queensland, this went into a fourth day but only just, as the Redbacks’ struggling batting line-up offered little resistance. Quicks Matthew Kelly and Lance Morris combined for 16 wickets in the match as they stepped up in the absence of Jhye Richardson and Joel Paris impressively.

“Really enjoying the extra responsibility I’m getting,” Morris, whose hostile burst late on day three tore through South Australia’s middle-order, said. “It’s known as a bowler-friendly wicket but if you stick to your basics for long enough, it definitely pays off.”

South Australia, who are winless from four matches, rued a horror second day when they suffered a lower-order collapse before WA openers Sam Whiteman and Cameron Bancroft took a stranglehold of the contest with a 308-run partnership.

“The collapse absolutely killed us,” South Australia coach Jason Gillespie said. “There was nothing wrong with the surface. We were just completely outplayed and bullied out there.

“We need to be better. It was an unacceptable loss.”

Gillespie confirmed that quick Jordan Buckingham had suffered a non-displaced fracture to his little finger on his bowling hand after a fielding mishap on day three. He was unable to bat in the second innings.

“We don’t expect him to be out for very long. It’s probably the best case scenario for the injury,” Gillespie said.

Staring down the barrel at a forlorn 6 for 66 in the second innings, South Australia’s slim hopes of avoiding defeat rested on captain Henry Hunt, who watched the carnage unfold from the other end late on day three.

Opener Hunt was once again a bystander as Wes Agar fell on the third ball of the day, edging a length delivery from Kelly. Hunt, who top-scored in South Australia’s first innings with 71, has been tipped as a future Test opener and appeared a class above his team-mates as he prolonged an inevitable defeat.

He decided to switch gears and go down swinging, counter-attacking Morris by slashing hard at wide deliveries. But Hunt’s cavalier approach didn’t last long, as he fell to the impressive Kelly as South Australia were still short of triple figures.

Several lusty blows from Ben Manenti ensured they at least were spared of that ignominy, but their fate was sealed well before lunch as their players braced for an expected dressing down from an angry Gillespie.

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