Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

Blues, Warriors, Redbacks on top

By AAP .
13 February 2014 12:44AM EST

NEW South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia are all in control of their respective Sheffield Shield matches on the first day back after the Big Bash League break.

Tasmania opener Mark Cosgrove slashed a quick-fire 71 but veteran paceman Michael Hogan ensured the opening-day honours belonged to Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield clash at the WACA Ground.

The Tigers were cruising at 1-104 on the back of Cosgrove's 90-ball knock, but Hogan claimed 4-55 to dismiss Tasmania for 248 on Wednesday.

WA will resume at 1-59 on Thursday, with opener Marcus North on 39 and nightwatchman Michael Beer on two.

Tigers spinner Xavier Doherty claimed a crucial breakthrough just before stumps when he trapped Cameron Bancroft lbw for 17.

WA cricket is on a high following last week's Big Bash League title triumph by the Perth Scorchers.

Hogan, who claimed the wickets of Cosgrove, Ed Cowan (16), George Bailey (9) and Ben Dunk (2), said the title win had breathed an extra level of excitement into the WACA.

"There's a sense of belief around the change rooms at the moment," Hogan said.

"We knew we were going to be a bit rusty first session with a lot of the boys getting back from T20 cricket.

"But we strung a few maidens together and managed to pick up a few wickets."

Cosgrove copped two painful blows to his hands during his knock, but overcame the setbacks to crack 14 boundaries.

However, his dismissal sparked a collapse of 4-41 as Hogan weaved his magic.

At 6-178, Tasmania were struggling.

But Luke Butterworth, who was dropped on 20 by Marcus North at gully, made the Warriors pay for the missed chance by combining with Ben Hilfenhaus for a 61-run stand that lifted Tasmania to a defendable total.

The match shapes as a key contest in the race for a top-two berth.

WA sits third on the table, but are just four points adrift of second-placed NSW behind ladder leaders South Australia (22 points).

The fifth-placed Tigers (10 points) are eight points behind the Blues, but an outright win would put them right back into the thick of the finals race.

SOUTH Australian batsman Tom Cooper has given Australian selectors something to think about after blasting an unbeaten 156 on the first day against Queensland at the Gabba.

Cooper shot to the top of the Sheffield Shield run scorers' list for the 2013-14 season and simultaneously put the Redbacks in a commanding position at 4-278.

It was the Wollongong-born No.4's fourth first class century but his second of the season, both of which have come against the Bulls.

He has become a thorn in Queensland's side after hitting 171 when the two sides drew in October.

He looked composed and was rarely troubled on what he described as the most batting-friendly Gabba wicket he had ever played on.

The 27-year-old has previously represented the Netherlands, the country of his mother's birth, at ODI and international Twenty20 level.

However since the Netherlands are a non-Test playing nation, it would not preclude him from turning out for Australia in the future.

"I don't think I can put my finger on it," he said when asked about his rich vein of form.

"If I could I'd make sure I would do it all the time.

"I think it was just a lot of hard work pre-season. Probably that hunger to go big once you get in.

"There's going to be plenty of days when you nick off first ball and you're hating the game then.

"I think you have to maximise when you do get yourself in."

Cooper and Johan Botha (53 not out) put on an 126-run partnership to wrest control of the match and put South Australia in a commanding position to maintain their standing at the top of the ladder.

Cooper mounted a rescue mission after coming to the crease at 2-13.

Queensland captain James Hopes (2-43) won the toss and elected to bowl, hoping to take advantage of cloudy conditions in the first hour.

Hopes was on a hat-trick after snaring the wickets of Michael Klinger (1) and Travis Head (0), but it one way traffic after that with only two wickets falling after lunch.

"We started well, we came in with a plan to try to boss the game," Queensland coach Stuart Law said.

"It didn't quite work out for us. We weren't quite on our game today with our bowling. I thought our lines and lengths deserted us at periods of time. We had good periods as well."

VICTORIA struggled to adapt from hit-and-giggle mode on day one of their clash against NSW at the SCG, with the exception of the biggest hitter of them all, Glenn Maxwell.

NSW bowled Victoria out for 218 in 50.1 overs and finished the day just 90 runs in arrears at 2-128.

Maxwell made 94 off 95 balls before holding out in the deep attempting to bring his third first-class century up with a third six of the innings.

The Australian Twenty20 star lifted the visitors to a half respectable total on an SCG green top, but Victoria were let down by a raft of stars who appeared stuck in Big Bash League mode.

Aaron Finch (7), Cameron White (29), Matthew Wade (10) and Dan Christian (0) all played ordinary shots to leave Victoria in a precarious position at 6-111 at lunch.

Trent Copeland (3-50) said after winning the toss, NSW bowling plan centred on outlasting the patience of their last-placed opposition.

"Instincts take over to a certain degree. They tell you to hit balls you should be leaving, because you've been practising for two months to try and slog them out of the park," Copeland said.

"You need to find a happy medium and get back into (Shield mode) as soon as you can and the teams that do that the best generally win this first match after the T20 break."

Allrounder Sean Abbott (3-44) and Doug Bollinger (2-41) also led the way for the second-placed Blues, before the batsmen came out and set a solid base in difficult conditions.

Ryan Carters departed for 42, but Scott Henry (41 not out) and Ben Rohrer (27 not out) are well positioned to build a solid first innings lead for the Blues.

Maxwell said the seaming conditions mean the contest is far from over, and Victoria's bowlers simply need to build pressure with the ball on day two.

The Australian limited overs star played all the shots in the book on Wednesday, reverse sweeping Copeland for one of 11 boundaries.

Maxwell had grafted his way nicely to 60, before blasting away with the tail to ensure Victoria climbed over 200.

Criticised for cheap-dismissals for Australia during the summer, Maxwell said he's focused on balancing out his game.

"I was caught a few times in between two minds - whether to show my natural flair and bat without any reins and on the other side people constantly talking about being the finisher and be like Mike Hussey, not out at the end," he said.

"No.6 has been so good for us in the one-day format, with Bevan and Mike Hussey, there's a bit of pressure on me.

"At the moment I've got to work hard on my game to make sure I'm up to that standard.

"I think I've got the tools to do that, it's just whether I've got the mental application."

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)