Sheffield Shield 2021-22: Tasmania claim thrilling win over WA at the WACA Ground

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Braden QuartermaineThe West Australian
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WA fast bowler Jhye Richardson scored a crucial half century this morning.
Camera IconWA fast bowler Jhye Richardson scored a crucial half century this morning. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Tasmania defied a series of rain delays to chase down 217 to win a tense Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia by three wickets on Wednesday.

The Tigers reached their victory target with four overs remaining at 5.45pm, after bowling WA out for 230 shortly after lunch on a stop-start final day.

Half-centuries to Caleb Jewell and Charlie Wakim provided the backbone of the confident chase, with Jewell’s fluent 52 off 51 balls at the top of the order making clear Tasmania’s intent. Tasmania had already knocked 74 runs off the target by the time Lance Morris got the first breakthrough.

WA coach Adam Voges said the lack of new ball strikes, combined with fast bowler Riley Meredith’s decisive early burst through the middle order, had proved their undoing.

“I think probably the first half-hour of the day, losing those three quick wickets. And then we probably didn’t get it right with the new ball on a wicket that was offering enough,” Voges said.

“We weren’t able to make those early breakthroughs that would have put Tassie under a bit more pressure.

“We probably didn’t want too many more (runs) after lunch. We weren’t really sure with the showers coming through and how long we were actually going to get.”

Voges paid tribute to Jhye Richardson, whose defiant half-century gave the attack something to bowl at before he claimed 2/37. The paceman was laid low by an acute spinal back spasm on Monday, but is hopeful of being available ahead of next week’s one-day and Shield matches against South Australia.

“When I saw him on the morning of day two it didn’t look great,” Voges said.

“But to his credit, I’m sure he played with a bit of pain today. And to our medical staff’s credit to get him up and get him moving and he almost did enough for us.”

The energy of the WA fieldsmen as they sprinted between overs confirmed their own belief in the assignment, despite needing to take eight wickets in the final session.

At the commencement of the last hour, Tasmania needed 74 more runs off a minimum of 16 overs, weather permitting, with six wickets in hand.

As conditions alternated between bright late afternoon sunshine and gloom so heavy the lights took over, fortunes fluctuated just as quickly.

Joel Paris’ runout of Jordan Silk was a crucial breakthrough and when Richardson bowled Wakim for an even half-century with 51 more runs required, WA were still in the hunt.

Richardson, who contributed a valuable 34 in the first innings, made an even 50 off just 59 balls as Paris contributed a more patient but no less crucial 27 as the tail wagged. Veteran paceman Peter Siddle took 5/40, while Meredith finished with 3/45.

Meredith, whose raw pace created problems for the WA batters on day three despite going unrewarded, took three quick wickets – all caught behind - to blow the contest open at the start the final day.

Meredith dismissed Hilton Cartwright for a duck and Josh Philippe (2) before getting the prized scalp of Shaun Marsh, whose determined stay at the crease ended after 58 runs from 150 balls.

When D’Arcy Short’s decision to leave a seaming Siddle delivery from around the wicket proved ill advised, WA had lost their last recognised batsman and 4-25 to start the day.

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