New South Wales held the upper hand on the first day of the season’s opening Sheffield Shield clash with WA at the WACA Ground.
WA were all out for 217, and NSW were 0-2 at stumps. Mitch Marsh made a patient 67 and Adam Voges 44. Former Test paceman Doug Bollinger returned the best figures of 3-55.
With leaden skies, a grassy wicket and a strong breeze greeting the players for a historically early start to the domestic first-class season, Blues skipper Michael Clarke was delighted to call correctly at the toss and give his bowlers first use of the favourable conditions.
The Blues seamers responded as Clarke hoped, claiming the key wickets of former Test batsman Shaun Marsh (one) and Marcus North (12) cheaply.
The Warriors middle order fought hard to steady the innings after lunch, but suffered a big blow when veteran Adam Voges was lbw to Trent Copeland (2-36) just before tea for a hard-fought 44.
At tea, the home side was 5-137, with Mitchell Marsh on 24 and Tom Triffitt, the former Tasmanian making his first-class debut for WA, on one. Triffitt went on the make 23.
Voges and Marsh who had looked in good form after making a half-century in the one-day match between the sides on the Sunday, put on 69 for the fifth wicket after the Warriors had slumped to 4-66 just after lunch.
The Blues spread the wickets around, with former Test paceman Bollinger (1-37) claiming the important wicket of Shaun Marsh, batting at No.3, when the left-hander chased a wide delivery and edged the ball to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.
WA captain North was guilty of sacrificing his wicket cheaply, top edging an attempted scoop around the corner to Bollinger at deep fine leg from the bowling of Josh Hazlewood (1-32).
Despite the presence of nine Test cricketers and the Australian captain, a threadbare crowd was in attendance for the first day of play.
Copeland was the first Blues paceman to strike, having opener Liam Davis caught behind by Brad Haddin for eight.
Shaun Marsh, hoping to resurrect his international career, came in at first drop and didn’t look particularly comfortable at the crease during his short stay.