Western Australia end their Sheffield shield drought

Western Australia end long wait for Sheffield shield

Western Australia clinched their first Sheffield Shield title in 23 years at home against Victoria after securing a draw on day five.

The hosts were 400-7 and leading by 480 in the second innings when the players shook hands at lunch to signal the end of the game with the prospect of a result out of the window.

Opener Sam Whiteman and all-rounder Aaron Hardie both hit centuries on day four as they batted WA out of trouble.

Having secured the first-innings bonus points advantage on day three, meaning they could draw the match and still claim their first title since 1998-98, the pair put on 174 runs across almost five hours on Sunday after coming together at a perilous 110-5 with Victoria well and truly in the game.

A crucial sixth breakthrough remained out of the visitor’s reach as Whiteman (123) and Hardie (174 not out) steadied the ship before putting WA into an unbeatable position of 393 runs in front by stumps on day four.

Hardie continued the resistance in the morning of day five, bringing up his 150 as Western Australia showed no signs of declaration to set up an improbable final-day chase for Victoria.

The visitors tried hard for quick wickets during the first hour with Scott Boland (2-35), Will Sutherland (1-86), who took five first-innings wickets, and Mitch Perry (1-61) giving it their all, but WA were content with blocking the game out.

Jon Holland (2-98) finally managed to get the breakthrough, trapping Joel Paris (21) leg before wicket.

Hardie launched a massive six-over-long-on to reach the third-highest score for WA in a Sheffield Shield final behind Mike Veletta’s 262 in 1986-87 and Adam Gilchrist’s 189 not out in 1995-96 in what was the only other notable event before lunch.

Former Test opener Cameron Bancroft (141) set up the hosts’ path to victory with a superb century in the first innings to help the hosts reach 386 before left-armer Joel Paris gave WA the first innings advantage midway through the match.

The 29-year-old’s 2-34 from seven overs ensured WA gained 1.67 bonus points compared to Victoria’s 1.44 after 100 overs of each team’s first innings, which meant the hosts had the luxury of batting the Vics out of the game across the final two days without needing to force a result.

With the bonus points in the bag, the hosts soaked up 163 overs in their second innings, content to block out a win.

The result ensures all three men’s domestic cricket trophies are on their way to Perth after WA won the Marsh One-Day Cup last month and the Scorchers took the BBL 11 crown in January with Adam Voges coaching all three winning sides.

The Scorchers also claimed the WBBL 07 title at Optus Stadium in November.

It’s WA’s 16th Sheffield Shield title and their first since a team boasting Michael Hussey, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Simon Katich, Tom Moody, Brendon Julian, and Jo Angel beat Queensland at the Gabba in 1998-99.

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