New South Wales face tall order after 20 wickets tumble to pace and spin

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Western Australia 233 and 127 (Green 5-41) lead New South Wales 93 (Rocchiccioli 4-31, Kelly 3-9) by 267 runs

Western Australia set New South Wales the seemingly Herculean task of chasing 268 runs to win after 20 wickets fell for 220 runs on an eventful day of Sheffield Shield cricket.

On a lively but not unplayable SCG pitch, both sides struggled to make runs. D’Arcy Short top-scored for WA with an unbeaten 38 on a grim day for the batting profession. The visitors were bowled out for 127 in their second innings after slumping to 7 for 45 shortly after tea.

Short and debutant paceman Charlie Stobo steadied the ship with a 60-run partnership – the largest of the day – to drag their side past three figures.

“As you’ve seen, getting 200 on this wicket is really challenging,” Stobo said.  “Getting [a lead of] 260, 270 is a real bonus, so pretty content at the moment.”

Journeyman NSW spinner Chris Green continued his dream first-class debut, picking up a five-wicket haul to add to his four opening-day dismissals.

Quick Mickey Edwards got his first wicket in the competition since 2018 after a torrid injury run, trapping opener Cameron Bancroft lbw for 1.

Chris Tremain got the pick of the wickets, taking an exceptional return catch in his follow-through off Sam Fanning’s firmly struck straight drive.

The Blues were earlier skittled for 93, 140 runs short of WA’s first-innings total. Matthew Kelly was the pick of the quicks for the visitors, taking 3 fpr 9 including a double-wicket maiden over that brought the dismissals of Jason Sangha and Moises Henriques.

Stobo picked up his first wickets for WA, while spinner Corey Rocchiccioli helped clean up the tail with four of his own.

Daniel Hughes top-scored for the hosts with 30 off 96 deliveries, battling admirably for each run as his partners fell around him.

Fast bowlers took 11 of day’s wickets with the spinners nabbing nine on a green pitch offering plenty of turn and bounce after the NSW spin pair of Green and Toby Gray dominated on day one.

“It’s obviously a bit of a difficult wicket,” Hughes said.  “You can’t play any cross-bat shots on that. You’ve got to play as straight as you can and wait for the spinner to drop short or the quicks to bowl full and just hit down the ground. That’s the key, and if we can do that for a long period tomorrow we’re in with a chance.”

With South Australia leapfrogging them at the bottom of the table following their draw with Queensland, the winless Blues will need a massive batting effort to avoid defeat on day three.


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