The Roar
The Roar


Wade's farewell fizzling out as Tassie falter up against WA's all-round strength in Shield final

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22nd March, 2024
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Matthew Wade’s farewell party got off to a sombre start as Western Australia took control of the Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania at the WACA Ground to draw closer to a third straight title.

In reply to WA’s first-innings 347, Tasmania went to stumps on day two looking wobbly at 6-152, with Bradley Hope and Jarrod Freeman unbeaten but yet to score.

The highlight of Friday’s action came just before stumps when wicketkeeper Josh Inglis took a spectacular one-handed catch down the leg side to remove Tasmania skipper Jordan Silk (30 off 112 balls).

It capped a late collapse of 3-11 as Tasmania slipped from 4-141 to 6-152.

Wade, who will retire from first-class cricket after the decider, was out for one in the second over of Tasmania’s innings when trapped lbw by Cameron Gannon (3-26).

Caleb Jewell (45) and Charlie Wakim (33) couldn’t make the most of their solid starts, while Shield player of the year Beau Webster (5) fell as part of the late collapse.

Skipper Silk was lucky to survive on 28 when he appeared to edge Gannon behind but was given not out.


But Silk couldn’t survive the wicketkeeping magic of Inglis, who dived full length to his left to pull off the amazing catch.

“He’s a freak. He’s so athletic. That’s an unbelievable catch,” WA debutant Cooper Connolly said.

Earlier, Connolly (90 off 115 balls) was the last man out in WA’s innings on a green-tinged wicket.

At 20 years and 213 days, Connolly was on track to become the second-youngest player to post a century in a Shield final.

The late Phillip Hughes (19 years, 106 days) holds that record, with Silk (20 years and 344 days) next in line.


Destiny appeared on Connolly’s side when he was dropped on 86 after Bradley Hope made a mess of a simple chance at deep backward point.

But there was no getting past the nervous 90s for Connolly, whose knock ended when he edged Iain Carlisle to slip.

“It would have been nice to get the century, but it’s all about team success this week, and hopefully we can get the three-peat,” Connolly said.

Carlisle (3-65) and spinner Jarrod Freeman (3-103) led the way with the ball, while Riley Meredith finished with 2-65.

WA’s two selection gambles paid off handsomely.

D’Arcy Short, brought in to replace the concussed Cameron Bancroft as opener, scored 50 in a 110-run opening stand with Sam Whiteman (104).


But the bigger selection shock was the inclusion of Connolly for his debut.

Connolly was the hero for the Perth Scorchers in their BBL final win over the Brisbane Heat in 2023, striking an unbeaten 25 off 11 balls to lift his team over the line with four balls to spare.

He brought a white-ball mindset into his Shield debut, cracking 12 fours and three sixes in his quick-fire knock.

Tasmania face a major challenge to work their way back into the contest but are determined to keep fighting.

“The way we’ve played all year, we’ve thought we can come back from anywhere,” Tasmania opener Caleb Jewell said.

“We would like to maybe get another 100 from here. But if not, we’ll see what we can do.”