Round 3 was full of excitement and included two comprehensive wins and one victory that went down to the final over of the final day! With future spots available in the Test side, let’s see who pushed their claims or otherwise.
3 Sentence Summary: Victoria won by 200 runs, says the scorebook. In reality, New South Wales struggled to reach 200 in both innings and collapsed both times. Here is hoping that this young New South Wales side will learn from their World Cup counterparts and improve their poor performances.
Who pushed Test claims? Peter Handscomb made 143 to finish comfortably as the Vics’ highest scorer. Handscomb looked like Australia’s best during the India tour but did not have the greatest County Championship Series. He will be hoping that these runs vault him into Australian contention for the upcoming Test summer.
Who did not push Test claims? The entire New South Wales team. Maybe this is a little harsh, but outside of eight wickets from the ever-reliable Chris Tremain and 78 in the second innings from Jason Sangha, few others in the entire team did much to advocate for higher honours. Nathan Lyon’s long-awaited return yielded just one wicket for the entire match.
3 Sentence Summary: On first innings points, South Australia won this match. However, Western Australia proceeded to render a near full-strength South Australian attack almost impotent as they proceeded to rack up 8-377 (dec) in their second innings. They went on to win by 200 runs.
Who pushed Test claims? In his past five games (four prior to his injury), Joel Paris has taken 27 wickets at an average of 18. With 145 at an average of 20 in his First Class career, he has to be close, at age 31, to knocking down the door of Test selection. Sure, he is fragile, but so was Ryan Harris and he played 27 Tests! Sometimes, when bowlers are in such good form, they deserve a shot regardless of their injury history.
Who did not push Test claims? After a stellar last round, Nathan McSweeney demonstrated his inconsistency, getting two very good starts but failing to push on falling both times to left-arm swing bowling. To excel at the next level, McSweeney will need to improve his consistency from week to week.
Queensland vs Tasmania
3 Sentence Summary: Dominated by Queensland for three days, the game turned on its head on Day 4 when 105 from Matthew Wade allowed Tasmania to come roaring back into contention. Unlike the previous two matches which were comfortably decided, this one see-sawed back and forth throughout the final day.
With seven to win from the final over and death over specialist Gurinder Sandhu bowling for Queensland, Jarrod Freeman showed nerves of steel to clout the second ball over the rope for six to win the match for Tasmania.
Who pushed Test claims? This game had so many super performances, it is difficult to pick one. Wade’s 105 turned the match in Tasmania’s favour, but Joe Burns’ 188 runs across both innings set up the match nicely. Matt Renshaw, Jimmy Peirson, Michael Neser, Beau Webster, Jack Clayton, Bradley Hope and Jarrod Freeman all contributed to what was the match of the round.
Who did not push Test claims? Long touted as a future Australian opening prospect, Bryce Street has struggled in the past season and a half to cement his spot at the top of the order for Queensland. Street seemed to have turned a corner in the last match with a solid performance, but this match, he struggled for fluency in the midst of good Tassie bowling and made scores of just 3 and 5.
Best XI across the round
How this is selected: this looks at the best players in each position and fits them in where appropriate. Players can be moved down a rung in the batting order from where they normally bat, but they cannot move up. For example, Matthew Renshaw could open or bat at 3, but since he did not make runs in the middle order, he would not be eligible to bat in the middle order. The objective of this is to track the consistency across the Shield season. At least one player from each side should be selected unless one team utterly dominated that round.
Stay tuned for Round 4!