The West

WA move closer to seasons goals
Adam Voges reaches 50 against tasmania. Pic: Getty Images

Justin Langer is not beating around the bush.

As his West Australian team completed its third outright victory of the season and 200th in its history, the Warriors coach was adamant that not only making but winning the Sheffield Shield was his sole priority for the next six weeks.

"Do you want me to give you the normal clichéd one-week-at-a-time answer?" Langer said when asked if WA could end their 15-year shield drought.

"We set out at the start of the season to win the Sheffield Shield, win the Ryobi Cup, win the Champions League and win the BBL competition. Nothing has changed.

"This win keeps us in a good position and we play (second-placed) NSW twice, so we have got our destiny in our own hands."

The Warriors are third but only four points behind South Australia and NSW. Guided by ice-cool youngster Sam Whiteman, the steely wicket-keeper whose emergence could not be timed better given that veteran Brad Haddin is coming to the end of his stint as the national gloveman, WA overhauled Tasmania's target of 256 by four wickets at the WACA Ground on Saturday.

Whiteman remained 29 not out in WA's 6-259 after veterans Marcus North (79) and Adam Voges (75) provided the foundation of the successful run chase.

Whiteman's consistency was underlined when he became the first wicket- keeper in shield history to score at least 24 in 10 consecutive innings.

Langer was delighted that there was no lull in performance after the excitement of the Perth Scorchers' Big Bash League triumph the previous week.

"The biggest challenge was getting up for this game after the other night," Langer said.

"We finished the campaign before Christmas really strongly and it was very pleasing that we were able to fight it out in such a tough game of cricket.

"In a lot of ways it was nice to get this game out of the way but also to get six points out of it."

WA stuttered in their first shield matches after the BBL finals of the previous two years and while there were nervous moments in their chase on Saturday, they did not surrender the momentum that had been theirs since early in the match.

Left-arm paceman Jason Behrendorff will return against NSW this week in place of Nathan Coulter-Nile, who will not be considered after straining a hamstring against the Tigers.

The WA selectors also have a dilemma over the identity of their preferred spinner.

Ashton Agar was suspended for the game, but is not bowling well enough to be an automatic replacement for Michael Beer.

·Former WA and Tasmania batsman Travis Birt set a WACA club record by striking six sixes in an over for Claremont-Nedlands on Saturday in his unbeaten 71.

The West Australian

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