Ashe’s hopeful Jhye Richardson showed off more of his new ball skills on Tuesday to ignite a Tasmanian breakdown after playing a lone hand with the ball for Western Australia the day before in Hobart.
Amid growing rumors that the resurgent runabout might take Mitchell Starc’s place in the opening test at the Gabba, Richardson brought his Sheffield Shield season to 20 wickets with two early scalps on day three, having already picked up the only two wickets that were attached Day two fell.
Both of Richardson’s second wickets duet came within three overs when WA took the second new ball as he finished 4-53 of 28 overs, including 13 virgins, and backed up his eight wickets at the gabba last week.
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It was a notable return to red ball cricket for Richardson, who is the leading shield wicket taker this season.
His control and ability to tie batsmen make him an irresistible prospect of Test-level compared to Starc, who averaged nearly 60 against the top six batsmen in the series’ loss to India last summer.
Starc has also not played a red ball game since winning just one wicket in NSW Shield’s final loss to Queensland in April.
Richardson could get a chance to catapult his team to victory on Wednesday after an unbeaten half-century from Cameron Green, another Ashes team member (52 not eliminated), gave WA a massive 259 run lead at the end of day three and ended at 4 -170 with a day to play.
Jordan Silk was the only Tasmanian resistance to score 73 as the home side lost 9:62 and broke from 0:197 to 9:259 before tumbling to 317.
But WA will take every effort from Richardson to beat a bowler after Lance Morris suffered a side load on day two.
Following his Ashes call-up, which came straight from national selection chairman George Bailey, who was with the Gabba last week, Richardson said he was trying “not to put too much pressure on myself” with an upcoming test return.
“It’s (The Ashes) one of the biggest shows to be a part of,” said Richardson.
“It’s super exciting, but when I get a game the focus is on just making sure I’m doing everything I’ve done so far.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. It’s a great squad to be a part of.
“It’s just about not putting too much pressure on me.”
INTENSIVE ASH FIGHT FORCED TO WAIT
Usman Khawaja will have to wait until tomorrow to secure his claim to fifth place in Australia’s Ashes line-up as the first day of the Sheffield Shield action between Queensland and South Australia was interrupted due to wet spots on the wicket.
Khawaja is embroiled in a fight with the South Australian skipper Travis Head for a free place in the Ashes loft and both men are determined to impress in the Shield fight.
South Australia won the toss and chose the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide when Queensland wanted to start early.
Former Australian opener Joe Burns was sacked for 17 out of 105 when caught in the slip of a David Grant delivery.
Marnus Labuschagne and Bryce Street continued to hold the ship stable, although Labuschagne was given a lifeline at 21 when a ball was torn from the tip of his racket and landed in the gutter just in front of the man.
However, a wet spot on the wicket wreaked havoc when Labuschagne was hit three times on the gloves, forcing a meeting between captains and referees to discuss the safety issues.
It was decided to pause the game for the day after the start was postponed due to nearly three hours of rain this morning.
Queensland starts the second day at 1-87 with Street at 45 * and Labuschagne at 21 *.
FORMER TEST BATSMAN SEND A MESSAGE
When the Australian A-squad was selected last week, ex-test batsman Kurtis Patterson received a real-time update on where he sits in the pecking order as he plots his way back to a bulging green.
Missing the selection on the 11-player roster, which extends to 26 if you include the Ashes squad, challenged the NSW captain to do tons of runs to get his name back into the mix.
Without half a century in his first five Sheffield Shield innings of the summer, all against Victoria, Patterson needed a solid dig and produced when it was most important to his side at SCG on Tuesday.
A game that was delayed for a day due to a Covid positive in the Victorian team and interrupted by rain that cost a full day on Sunday could still have gone the way of the visitors, if not a dogged 112 from Patterson and his first Had it been a 10th century first class pump it was a testament to how much it meant.
Patterson, 28, smashed four lines from Victorian rookie Brody Crouch’s sixth over to get his 100 balls out of just 121 when he and half-century Jason Sangha kept the Vics at bay after James Pattinson got the top three NSW had ripped out batter.
A drizzle fell after lunch as Patterson increased his team’s lead to over 150 and the triple-digit partnership with Sangha pushed the game out of Victoria’s reach, which could have prevented Shield from losing a third straight loss to the Vics.
Some relish punches after breaking 100 also indicated pressure from NSW to take a lead in hopes of potentially defeating Victoria and winning herself over.
The Victorian outfielders were sent to the stands to find balls when Patterson and Sangha, 72, went on the offensive in the second session before the skipper was caught wanting one too much.
Pattinson, for his part, won 5-71 when NSW declared right at tee with 7-285, a 247 lead, with time running out for a result.
Despite some scary moments for the Vics when they struck again, including losing four fast wickets, the match ended in a draw.
During his innings, Patterson overtook Australian legend Bob Simpson and moved up to 20th for most Sheffield Shield runs for NSW.
It has been almost three years since Patterson’s second friendly in which he scored an unbeaten 114 against Sri Lanka, which will be the last time he has beaten for Australia.