Unbeaten young gun Jason Sangha has produced his first half-century for NSW, steering the hosts to 5-285 at stumps on a topsy-turvy opening day of their Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania at the SCG.
Sangha, who captained Australia at this year’s under-19 World Cup and has long shouldered the burden of being the sport’s next big thing, finished 70 not out on Monday.
Sangha and fellow teenager Jack Edwards, who will resume on 50, steadied in an unbeaten 104-run stand after their side lost 4-44 either side of tea.
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“Jack and I are pretty relaxed when we bat,” Sangha said.
“I remember playing against him here in an under-14 competition. We were Newcastle, he was playing for Manly, so we spoke about that out in the middle.
“They all bowled well … Jackson Bird was quite tough when I first came out, swinging it both ways.
“It was good fun but we’ve got a lot more hard work to do. This is just a start.”
Edwards was on 26 when a Riley Meredith bouncer struck his helmet but the 18-year-old was given the green light to continue batting by medicos.
“He was fine. He laughed it off, complained about how he liked the old helmet,“ Sangha said
Edwards brought up his maiden half-century in the day’s final over, delivered by former Test keeper Matthew Wade.
Test skipper Tim Paine, who is playing under the captaincy of George Bailey this week, was tidy behind the stumps and would have been suitably impressed with the composed counter-punch from NSW’s youngsters.
Sangha, who has recently picked the brain of Randwick-Petersham teammate David Warner and was mentored by Chris Rogers throughout winter, made history by posting his maiden first-class century in last year’s Ashes tour game.
Sachin Tendulkar is the only batsman to have scored a first-class ton against England at a younger age.
But prior to Monday’s innings, Sangha’s previous best effort for NSW was the 33 he scored in Adelaide last month.
The right-hander, who finished with a pair when the Blues suffered a lopsided loss to Victoria last week at the MCG, was on 36 when Tasmania took the second new ball on Monday.
Sangha was watchful but also willing to play his shots, depositing a short delivery from former Test paceman Jackson Bird over the rope with a sweetly- timed pull shot.
Earlier, Bird ignited a comeback as Tasmania removed well-set batsmen Dan Hughes and Kurtis Patterson for 78 and 56 respectively late in the post-lunch session.
Bird trapped Hughes lbw, having held a catch at gully to help Meredith snap the 125-run partnership between Hughes and Patterson.