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WA make winning start to Sheffield Shield campaign on back of Ashton Agar heroics

Western Australia left it late but made it count, cleaning up South Australia in the final session for an outright Sheffield Shield win in Adelaide.

The visitors were the superior side for long periods of the match but the 205-run victory wasn’t confirmed until well into the last hour of play.

At 6-169 and with Liam Scott (34) and Nick Winter (4) digging in at Karen Ralton Oval, a draw looked possible but the home side lost 4-8 to hand over the match at 6.11pm local time.

South Australia dropped anchor in a dour final session but after Winter was caught by Sam Whiteman off the bowling of Ashton Turner (1-9), the end came quickly.

WA had declared at 2-215 (Shaun Marsh 110 not out) to start the day, setting SA the unlikely target of 382 to win.

Wickets fell at regular intervals for SA with first innings centurion Jake Weatherald (36) and Travis Head (54) providing the most starch.

The wickets were shared among six WA bowlers with Joel Paris (2-10) and Matthew Kelly (2-34) the pick.

Ashton Agar was named man of the match after taking 1-46 from 27 overs, adding to a superb all-round match of 114 not out and 5-103 in South Australia’s first innings.

“He looked really dangerous, especially to the right handers,” captain Marsh said of Agar.

“I thought he had a fantastic game … and to back that up with the ball the way he did was fantastic.

“I think Ash really jumped at the opportunity when we said he was going to bat at No.6 and he batted beautifully.”

WA coach Adam Voges celebrates with his players.
Camera IconWA coach Adam Voges celebrates with his players. Credit: DAVID MARIUZ/AAPIMAGE

SA captain Head said the match was lost when his side didn’t kick on from 1-180 in their first innings.

“To lose 20 wickets on a wicket where we were only able to take seven … I guess we’ve got some work to do on both sides of our game,” he said.

WA are expected to get a much sterner test in Adelaide starting Monday, when they take on defending champions NSW.

The Blues will likely feature Test stars Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon for the clash.

In the other match, Marnus Labuschagne showed there’s little he can’t do on a cricket field, capturing a vital wicket in the final session as Queensland beat Tasmania.

Labuschagne, who flayed 167 in Queensland’s’ first innings, had Nathan Ellis caught for 31, his departure helping his side eventually dismiss Tasmania for 220 late on day four.

It resulted in an innings and 59-run win for the Bulls.

In a match dominated by Labuschagne and allrounder Michael Neser (121 and 5-32), the Bulls shared the love around on day four as Xavier Bartlett (3-38) and Jack Wildermuth (2-21) also helped to mop up the Tigers.

Tasmania were left to rue their sloppy fielding in the match, centurion Labuschagne dropped three times early in his innings.

Neser will undoubtedly be watched again closely by national selectors when Queensland play South Australia in Adelaide starting October 30.

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