Cricket fans have expressed their disbelief after 20 wickets fell on a day of chaos at the SCG as NSW's Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia finished in less than three days. On a lively but not unplayable pitch, both NSW and Western Australia struggled to make runs as the Warriors eventually won by 133 runs.
D'Arcy Short top-scored for Western Australia with 39 not out on a grim day for the batting profession on Wednesday. The Warriors were eventually bowled out for 127 in their second innings after slumping to 7-45 shortly after tea.
Despite the low score the visitors were still in the box seat after NSW managed the paltry total of 93 in their first innings. After making 127 while batting first, Western Australia set NSW the seemingly Herculean task of making 268 for victory.
The vistitors then wrapped up victory on Thursday, bowling NSW out for just 134. Short and debutant paceman Charlie Stobo steadied the ship for Western Australia on Wednesday. The pair combined for a 60-run partnership - the largest of the day - to drag their side past three figures.
"As you've seen, getting 200 on this wicket is really challenging," Stobo said. "Getting (a lead of) 260, 270 is a real bonus, so (I'm) pretty content at the moment."
NSW spinner Chris Green continued his dream first-class debut, picking up a five-wicket haul to add to his four opening-day dismissals. Mickey Edwards also got his first wicket in the competition since 2018 after a torrid injury run, trapping opener Cameron Bancroft lbw.
Chris Tremain got the pick of the wickets, taking an exceptional return catch in his follow-through off Sam Fanning's firmly struck straight drive. The Blues were earlier skittled for just 93 - 140 runs short of the Warriors' first-innings total.
Matt Kelly was the pick of the quicks for the visitors, taking 3-9 including a double-wicket maiden over that brought the dismissals of Jason Sangha (2) and Moises Henriques (0). Stobo picked up his first wickets for WA, while spinner Corey Rocchiccioli helped clean up the tail with four of his own.
Blues opener Daniel Hughes top-scored for the hosts with 30 off 96 deliveries in the first innings, battling admirably for each run as his partners fell around him. Fast bowlers took the majority of Wednesday's wickets on a green pitch offering plenty of turn and bounce after the NSW spin pair of Green and Toby Gray dominated on day one.
"It's obviously a bit of a difficult wicket," Hughes said. "You can't play any cross-bat shots on that. You've got to play as straight as you can and wait for the spinner to drop short or the quicks to bowl full and just hit down the ground. That's the key, and if we can do that for a long period tomorrow we're in with a chance."
With South Australia leapfrogging them at the bottom of the table following their draw with Queensland, the winless Blues will need a massive batting effort to avoid defeat on day three.
It is a classic dry SCG pitch but NSW really need to find some form with the bat. Maybe today with a famous run chase?
— Menners 🎙 (@amenners) November 23, 2022
NSW cricket is woeful now. Constant batting collapses. Total joke now.
— David Acott (@acott_david) November 23, 2022
Not a bad effort for a 3rd string WA bowling outfit! Looking like back to back Shields for the boys from the West!
— Chris Bradbury (@ChrisBradbury29) November 23, 2022
Would’ve thought that’s enough to defend
— Rick (@Fonc133) November 23, 2022
WA are really punishing NSW in the Shield match at the SCG . Hosts are 7/67 in reply to WA's 233. Kelly (3-9), Stobo (2-23), Rocchiccioli (1-21) and Moody (1-6) sharing the wickets
Only two batters have reached double figures. Incredible.@WACA_Cricket pic.twitter.com/jC9DTpyfCy
— Robert Baird (@rj_baird) November 23, 2022
South Australia salvage draw with Queensland
Meanwhile, Queensland have missed a golden opportunity to solidify their spot in the Sheffield Shield top two after Jake Lehmann and Nathan McSweeney secured a draw for South Australia. On a fighting final day in Adelaide, the pair batted through 65 overs to help wipe out Queensland's 102-run first innings lead and take South Australia to 3-246 when the match was called.
Wednesday's result still leaves the Bulls in second spot on the ladder, but vulnerable of falling below Tasmania at the halfway point of the season if the Tigers beat Victoria this week. Under Sheffield Shield rules the top two teams qualify for the March final, with the majority of the rest of the season to be played without Test stars.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.