White ball specialist D’Arcy Short is set to return to the WA top order this week as the struggling top order was urged to bat smarter in the remaining Sheffield Shield matches this season.
Set the unlikely target of scoring an extra 202 yesterday with only four wickets in hand, the Warriors batted boldly on a wearing Optus Stadium drop-in pitch before succumbing to NSW’s Test-quality attack to lose by 104 runs.
Marcus Stoinis (81), Ashton Agar (24) and Cam Green (27) all followed coach Adam Voges’ request to bat with freedom and intent. But the trio all fell to catches on the boundary as they made poor decisions under the pressure of reaching the target of 317.
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“I asked the guys to have a bit of intent today but we have to match smartness with that intent,” Voges said.
“On a wearing day four pitch with a Test quality spinner in Nathan Lyon who was the difference in the game, it was going to be a tough ask to get to the target. “It is frustrating but I don’t want them to shy away from that intent. They just have to be smarter.”
Stoinis underlined his hitting prowess with a series of monster strikes, including a massive on-drive against Lyon into the second tier of the stadium.
But Lyon had his revenge three balls later when Stoinis attempted to repeat the stroke only to land it in the hands of long-on Dan Hughes.
“He tried to hit me into the third tier,” Lyon said. “He got out.”
The Australian limited-overs all-rounder squandered the chance to produce his maiden century for WA, nearly a decade after his first appearance for the Warriors.
Agar lasted only a dozen balls in the morning before lobbing Lyon to Hughes in the same position that he later caught Stoinis.
Green then batted with considerable comfort for more than an hour but gave Sean Abbott the second of his three scalps by holing out to Lyon in the deep.
WA’s ill-conceived lower order batting complemented the misfiring top order which is set to be revamped against Victoria at the MCG this week.
Short is sure to return while Sam Whiteman, who has not played shield cricket for two years, will be considered along with uncapped Jake Carder.
Voges recognised that the fragile top order was WA’s biggest problem but could not identify an immediate solution.
“We need to find two or maybe three batsmen,” he said.
Voges said Whiteman was physically ready to return after recovering from complicated surgery to repair a shattered finger but was searching for form.
The left-hander made 35 for the Cricket Australia XI against India yesterday. Carder made 38.