Bancroft keeps spot for final

Cam Bancroft will open for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield final starting today after the State selectors kept faith in a batsman who has played every game this season.

But there was heartache for young all-rounder Ashton Turner, who was cut from the team to make way for the returning Mitch Marsh.

WA have not made any other changes to the team that must beat NSW at Manuka Oval to secure their 16th shield title.

NSW will name their team today. Pacemen Gurinder Sandhu and Sean Abbott are tipped to be left out of the 13-man squad.

The 21-year-old Bancroft was under intense pressure to retain his place in the WA team after scoring just 64 runs at eight in his past four matches.

But the WA selectors weighed up several factors before sticking with the first-year player.

The right-hander has forged an effective partnership with veteran Marcus North, the shield player of the season, while his excellent catching at short leg has played a role in WA's four outright victories this season.

North and Bancroft have produced stands averaging 40 this year, with their best of 208 coming against Victoria at the WACA Ground in November.

The selectors were also reluctant to shuffle the top order had Bancroft been dropped.

Marcus Harris would have been forced to open and Shaun Marsh would have been elevated to No.3 rather than remain at No.5, which has proved his best position at State level.

WA coach Justin Langer says a dry pitch has set up a fascinating battle between Test spinner Nathan Lyon and rising tweaker Ashton Agar.

Langer had a good look at the pitch yesterday and said it was a lot drier and had less grass on it than it did before their previous match.

"From what we saw last week ... it's definitely going to spin," Langer said.

That throws big responsibility on to NSW spinners Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe and their WA counterparts, 20-year-old Agar and part-timer North.

Langer wasn't playing down his high opinion of Agar, saying he is "the most exciting young talent in Australia". But he was wary of the threat from Lyon.

"He (Lyon) is the Australian off-spinner, he's had a fantastic couple of years," Langer said.

"With our left-armers, there is going to be some rough there for him to bowl into."

One fast left-armer who won't be returning to Manuka Oval is leading NSW paceman Doug Bollinger, who was called up to Australia's squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Langer admitted that was some relief after Bollinger was responsible for two WA batting collapses last week.

Though NSW need only a draw to win the shield, they have declared they'll go on the attack.

"From what we saw last week ... it's definitely going to spin.""Warriors coach *Justin Langer *

with Australian Associated Press

The West Australian

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