Western Australia 256 (Whiteman 107, Philippe 52*, Green 3-33, Bird 3-37) vs New South Wales
Back to his favoured format, Whiteman shrugged off a lean BBL and a first ball duck in Thursday’s Marsh Cup against NSW with 107 off 188 balls. He was particularly fluent driving the ball and ruthless against short-pitched bowling.
Two-time defending champions WA’s only defeat of the season was a 10-wicket thrashing to NSW at the SCG as they sit fractionally behind Tasmania on the table. NSW, who were winless last season, had built momentum before the break to be in striking position of an unexpected final’s tilt.
Captain Moises Henriques had no hesitation to bowl on a green-tinged surface and in notably cooler weather than the teams experienced in Thursday’s Marsh Cup, where temperatures hit 43 degrees in Perth.
But Whiteman and Bancroft expertly navigated the bowler-friendly conditions with the occasional delivery rearing off the surface. Bancroft was cautious and scored just one off his first 12 balls before he settled with a beautiful cover drive as Whiteman also flourished through the off-side.
They judged the length superbly and pounced on stray deliveries from NSW’s quicks, who often bowled too full or short. Chris Tremain and Jack Edwards were unable to consistently bowl in dangerous areas outside off stump with Henriques turning to speedster Liam Hatcher for a spark.
He delivered with a vicious spell before lunch and hit speeds of around 140kph, but Bancroft and Whiteman held firm. Offspinner Chris Green was carried away with the surface’s bounce and repeatedly bowled too short as NSW toiled in a barren first session.
Batting appeared easier after lunch with Whiteman at ease against Edwards’ rather pedestrian short bowling to rattle past his half-century. Whiteman sped past Bancroft, who edged through slips against the luckless Hatcher.
A desperate Henriques turned to Bird, who ended the 107-run partnership by having Bancroft well caught by Edwards at second slip. Bird found a trademark groove as he relentlessly hit a menacing spot outside off-stump to torture Jayden Goodwin.
Goodwin, the son of former Zimbabwe Test batter Murray Goodwin, has impressed this season and was preferred at No. 3 over Teague Wyllie, who for much of the past couple of seasons has batted in that position. But Goodwin was all at sea against Bird and nicked off on his 13th delivery for a duck.
Once Bird went out of the attack, Whiteman capitalised and charged towards his century on the stroke of tea. He whacked a tiring Hatcher for three consecutive boundaries to move to 97 before guiding him over the slips for six to notch his second Shield ton of the season.
But NSW fought back in the final session with WA losing 4 for 8, including Whiteman who was brilliantly run out from a direct throw by Ryan Hackney at square-leg. Whiteman attempted a second run back to the striker’s end, but Hackney charged in from the boundary and left him stunned having just one stump to aim at.
NSW were on a roll when Wyllie fell lbw to Edwards for a golden duck, but they rued Green dropping Philippe before he had scored in a sitter at third slip. In a late twist, Matt Kelly and Corey Rocchiccioli were dismissed on the last two balls of the day’s play as WA were bowled out.
Having played in the Marsh Cup following an indifferent BBL, left-arm spinner Ashton Agar was overlooked with WA sticking with offspinner Rocchiccioli, who has been a mainstay in their Shield team in recent seasons. Nathan Lyon is not playing for NSW after a hectic Test summer.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth