Recent Match Report – West Aust vs Tasmania Final 2023/24

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Western Australia 347 and 221 for 3 (Cartwright 62*, Goodwin 46) lead Tasmania 186 (Jewell 45, Rocchiccioli 4-48) by 382 runs

Western Australia weathered a short-pitched assault from Tasmania’s pace attack late on day three to move into a commanding position in the Sheffield Shield final.

WA reached stumps on day two at 221 for 3 with a lead of 382 runs. Hilton Cartwright overcame the bumper barrage to notch his second half-century of the match and shared in an unbroken 95-run partnership with Aaron Hardie.

They batted cautiously with WA in no rush after securing the lead on first-innings bonus points. A draw is enough for them to claim a third straight title and WA’s plan will be to bat for the long haul.

“I want to see a really big one [partnership] now,” WA coach Adam Voges said. “Hilton and Hards are in the 90s with this partnership and they both have the opportunity to go really big tomorrow.”

After another tough day’s play, Tasmania’s bid for an outright victory to end an 11-year drought appears grim. “It’s obviously going to take something really special for us to do it,” Tasmania captain Jordan Silk said. “But there’s still some belief in that room.”

After trailing on the first innings by 161 runs, Tasmania were desperate for wickets but they were unable to take them in clumps on a WACA surface that has not deteriorated. It’s been the trend all season with the surface holding up well throughout matches.

Tasmania turned to a short-ball tactic in the final session, but the plan only resulted in the wicket of Jayden Goodwin for 46. Iain Carlisle, who has been their best quick in the match, and Riley Meredith delivered several blows on the bodies of the batters, but often bowled too short.

Resuming on day three at 152 for 6, after losing the key wickets of Silk and Beau Webster before stumps on day two, Tasmania aimed to add another 100 runs and significantly reduce the deficit.

But their hopes were rocked on the second ball of the day’s play when Jarrod Freeman was disastrously run out when he was slow to respond on a tight single and was just short of his ground.

Joel Paris added another terrific catch for WA when he claimed a blinder at leg-slip off Corey Rocchiccioli to dismiss Gabe Bell with the fielding between the teams a major point of difference so far in the match.

It was Rocchiccioli who fittingly finished off the innings with the wicket of Carlisle as he undoubtedly catches the attention of the national hierarchy after finishing with 4 for 48 from 28 overs. It was an indefatigable effort made more admirable with Rocchiccioli battling the flu.

Tasmania desperately needed early wickets and Bell obliged with a terrific delivery to nick off first innings centurion Sam Whiteman on the last ball before lunch. But Goodwin and D’Arcy Short blunted Tasmania’s bid for further inroads as their quicks were unable to extract the same type of dangerous bounce and seam movement like their counterparts.

Unlike his scratchy batting in the first innings, Short looked fluent and in command as he mixed firm defence with attractive strokes through the covers. He eyed a second half-century in the match before edging Webster to slip.

But Short justified the faith of the selectors, who also were considering Teague Wyllie or elevating Goodwin up the order. It was an impressive effort considering Short had not opened at the first-class level since late 2019.

Short had replaced Cameron Bancroft, who is recovering well from concussion after a bike accident last weekend. He had a batting session at the WACA nets during the day’s play.

Tasmania were seemingly going through the motions and reverted to a bumper approach led by Meredith, who reached speeds of 140kph. He targeted Cartwright and Goodwin with short-pitched bowling from around the wicket, but without reward.

Carlise also bent his back and was rewarded with a well-directed bouncer on leg stump that took Goodwin’s glove to be caught behind. But it’s been hard work for Tasmania even though Webster showed off his versatility after starting with spin before switching to seam.

It was slow going at times in the late afternoon, but a strong crowd of 2467 were more than satisfied in the terraces with WA closing in on a title.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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