WA will be desperate to clean up South Australia’s tail tomorrow morning after a frustrating opening day of their Sheffield Shield clash at Adelaide Oval.
The Redbacks will resume their first-innings on 8-352 after veteran run machine Tom Cooper (99) guided the hosts past 300.
The 33-year-old (667 at 74.11) went ahead of WA’s Shaun Marsh (600 at 66.66) atop the shield run-scoring before left-armer Joel Paris knocked him over one run shy of triple figures.
Paris (3-70 off 19 overs) was the pick of the visiting bowlers, claiming three of the top six batsmen including returning Test star Travis Head for a 62-ball 46.
Fellow seamer David Moody also finished with the same figures, getting rid of the other half-centurions – Jake Weatherald (60) and Harry Nielsen (53) – in the process.
Josh Inglis, coming off a breakout Big Bash campaign with the Perth Scorchers, was terrific behind the stumps with four catches.
Cooper took on the WA attack with 12 boundaries and aggression fourth-placed SA needed to set-up a result in a must-win clash after getting a reprieve on 81 when Matt Kelly dropped a chance off Paris that trickled to the boundary.
Chadd Sayers (38 not out) and Daniel Worrall (19 not out) then added valuable lower-order runs.
“You don’t get the dash in the stats column, but if I got told I would get that at the start of the day you would take it. While it is frustrating, it has got us in a really good position,” Cooper, who missed SA’s drought-breaking win against Tasmania in Hobart during December due to concussion, said.
Cooper put on 80 with keeper-batsman Harry Nielsen, while cavalier tailender Chadd Sayers added 38 invaluable runs with Daniel Worrall.
No.11 Worrall (19) showed courage to continue after being struck on the helmet by a Joel Paris bouncer.
Travis Head (46), Jake Weatherald (60) and Nielsen (53) looked in ominous touch, but the relentless line of a quality visiting attack on a lively strip meant any mistake would be punished.
Paris wouldn’t be denied, knocking over the veteran Redback with a superb in-swinger before stumps.
Cooper has been a quiet achiever this campaign with 653 Shield runs at 81 in a sterling response to last season’s demotion.
Cooper is on track to surpass his career-best first-class season aggregate of 881 runs at 51.8 in 2013-14.
“The most important thing is to score some runs and put South Australia in some really good positions and hopefully be there at the pointy end of the season,” Cooper said.
Third-wicket pair Weatherald and Head punched out an 86-run stand before the Australian left-hander edged Paris for keeper Josh Inglis’ third catch in the last over before lunch.
Paris was impressive, almost tempting an edge from Head in his previous over before forcing the Redbacks skipper to play a late outswinger.
Opener Weatherald’s ninth boundary of the first session to backward point off Marcus Stoinis sealed an entertaining half century despite the departures of Henry Hunt (11), Callum Ferguson (0) and Head.
Weatherald has been in a rich vein of form since his 198 against Tasmania last November and had smoked 10 boundaries to all parts of the ground before David Moody claimed three wickets in succession.