The final match of the 2020-21 Sheffield Shield to be held in the Adelaide hub was a cause for celebration for many reasons. Not only did all teams gather in a barefoot circle before the start of play to acknowledge the beginning of NAIDOC Week and the contribution indigenous Australians have made to the game of cricket, but it is also likely the last time all six teams would be playing in the same city on the same day.
The Tasmanians took this as a sign to take the celebratory mood on-field, after winning the toss and sending the NSW into bat. It proved to be an inspired decision from captain, Matthew Wade, with the Blues being bowled out for just 64 runs; the third-lowest innings total by a NSW side in the history of the Sheffield Shield. Jackson Bird was the pick of the bowlers for the finishing with figures of 4-14, at an incredible economy rate of 1.33. However, the Tigers bowlers shared the wickets around, with Peter Siddle (3-17), Gabe Bell (2-20) and Riley Meredith (1-13) each jumping in on the action.
The Tigers understandably went into their innings with the bat with confidence, and despite losing four wickets over the remainder of the days play, they are heading into Day 2 in a commanding position.
At stumps Tasmania sit at 4-149, leading NSW by 85 runs. Opener, Jordan Silk, remains at the crease on an unbeaten 64, and was joined by night watchman, Siddle (4*) just before the close of play.
Jordan Silk continued his fine form with the bat from Day 1 of play, developing his well-made half century into a ton. Silk’s 106 off 264 balls was by far the highlight of either team’s performance with the bat however, with no other batter – from either team – scoring over 25 in the first innings. In the end the Tigers were dismissed for 239 runs in the 95th over, leaving them 175 runs in front of NSW heading into the 2nd innings.
When Blues opener, Daniel Hughes, was dismissed for a duck in the first over of the second innings, it seemed the poor fortune of NSW with the bat may continue. Fellow opener, Nick Larkin, had other ideas however reaching a well-made century in the final session of the day.
Aptly aided by Moises Henriques (75*), Larkin remains unbeaten overnight (103*) with the Blues sitting on 2-215.
At stumps this means the Blues now lead Tasmania by 40 runs, with eight wickets in hand.
The Blues picked up where they left off with the bat from the previous day, seemingly having put their woes of the first innings well behind them. Moises Henriques did as he threatened to do the previous day, going on to make a century (113 runs off 216 balls), while Nick Larkin added another half century to his ton from the day before (161 off 292). It was only thanks to the quick-thinking of keeper, Tim Paine, that Larkin was finally dismissed, with Paine stumping an unsuspecting Larkin, who was unknowingly out of his crease when assessing a Gabe Bell delivery that he appeared puzzled at how it had beat him.
This turned out to be the breakthrough the Tigers needed, with Daniel Solway (14) and Peter Neville (1) being dismissed cheaply. But experienced tail-enders Sean Abbott and Mitch Starc ensure the Blues’ tail wagged, both reaching unbeaten stands of 102* and 86* respectively. NSW declared at 6-522, setting the Tigers a target of 347 for victory.
Tasmania’s chase hardly got off to an ideal start, with opener Charlie Wakim, dismissed for a duck in the third over. Jordan Silk also couldn’t re-create his form from the first innings, dismissed for 16 off the bowling of the in-form Copeland.
At stumps Tasmania are 2-26, and need to get 322 runs in tomorrow’s final day of play for the win.
The final Sheffield Shield fixture for the foreseeable further has ended in disappointing fashion for the Tasmanians, going down to the Blues by 145.
After a shaky start with the bat in their second innings yesterday, Captain, Matthew Wade, and night watchman, Peter Siddle dug in in the morning session, setting the day up well for the Tigers. However, when Nathan Lyon got the breakthrough with the wicket of Siddle for 46 in the 43rd over, things began to unravel.
Wade (59) soon followed Siddle, departing 13 overs later in identical fashion – bowled Lyon, caught Nick Larkin – and the writing was on the wall for the Tigers.
Ben McDermott chimed in with a handy half century – reaching an even 50 runs off 89 balls – but with no other remaining batsman reaching double figures – with the exception of number 11, Riley Meredith, on an unbeaten 12* - the 347 runs required for victory in the second innings was seemingly out of the Tigers’ reach.
NSW’s Sean Abbott was named Player of the Match. Abbott took 4-33 in NSW’s first innings with the ball, and followed up with an unbeaten century with the bat.
FULL SCORECARD: cricket.com.au