Recent Match Report – West Aust vs Tasmania 6th Match 2023/24

Tasmania 281 for 6 (Silk 99*, Webster 64, Wade 51, Rocchiccioli 3-94) vs Western Australia

Western Australia quick Lance Morris dismissed opener Caleb Jewell with his first ball of the Sheffield Shield season, but Tasmania recovered on day one at the WACA.

After electing to bat in hot conditions, Tasmania were rocked by the dismissal of Jewell in the second over and slumped to 49 for 3 before captain Jordan Silk steadied his team to finish 99 not out at stumps.

Matthew Wade and Beau Webster also made half-centuries as Tasmania dominated for large chunks of the day, but honours were shared after a see-saw of an opening day.

The WACA pitch was notably flatter than the sluggish deck used in WA’s big season opening victory over Victoria.

It appeared a good toss to win for Silk, but Tasmania had a horror start when Jewell edged a good length Morris delivery to second slip for a golden duck.

With David Warner set to retire from Test cricket during the summer, Jewell is deemed a contender to replace him but probably sits behind Marcus Harris, Matthew Renshaw and Cameron Bancroft in the pecking order.

The left-handed Jewell made 87 and a duck in Tasmania’s seven-wicket victory over South Australia last week.

It was a spectacular return from Morris, who did not play against Victoria with his workload managed after a stress related back injury ruled him out of the Ashes.

In his initial four-over burst, Morris only occasionally reverted to short-pitched bowling and focused on a good line and length with the slip cordon packed.

Morris, who has impressed in the Marsh Cup, had not played a first-class match since March but consistently bowled around 140kph – notably quicker than his fellow pacemen.

He returned with the second new ball and dismissed Webster caught behind with a searing short-pitched delivery amid a fiery burst.

Morris bowled short spells throughout the day’s play and finished with 2 for 45 from 16 overs.

“He’s been chomping at the bit to play some cricket, his rehab from his back injury has been a slow one,” WA coach Adam Voges said. “He bowled well in patches today, his ball speed was good most of the time. He’ll be much better for the hit-out.”

WA were well on top after opener Tim Ward, who replaced Jake Weatherald, was dismissed by offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli and Charlie Wakim fell to a sharp catch by Sam Whiteman at short midwicket.

After scoring a century against South Australia, Wakim was in superb touch and hit several attractive drives before his dismissal on 29 to allrounder Aaron Hardie, who opened the bowling on the back of a stellar performance against Victoria.

WA relied heavily on ever-improving Rocchiccioli, who came into the attack in the 10th over and bowled for long periods in the heat. He removed Brad Hope in the last over of the day’s play to cap an indefatigable performance.

Rocchiccioli finished with 3 for 94 from 25 overs and looms as perhaps WA’s key bowler on day two with the temperature set to hit 36 degrees Celsius.

Tasmania will be eyeing a strong first innings total, which appeared unlikely earlier in the day.

Silk and Wade battled through to lunch before taking control as the pitch flattened and WA’s quicks started to tire. Wade played several trademark muscular strokes as he raced to his half-century off 69 deliveries.

Out of nowhere, Rocchiccioli, developing a knack for key wickets, removed Wade who miscued a sweep to short fine leg. But Silk then combined well with Webster, who played aggressively until succumbing to Morris as the shadows creeped onto the ground.

Former Test batting allrounder Hilton Cartwright returned for WA having overcome a knee injury but will not bowl in the match.

Morris replaced injured quick Cameron Gannon, while left-armer Liam Haskett retained his spot after an impressive Shield debut but went wicketless on the opening day.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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