First innings key for Warriors
First innings key for Warriors

WA will consider a major overhaul of their top order as they enter their first Sheffield Shield final in 15 years.

Captain Adam Voges identified a substantial first-innings total as the key to WA's bid to end their long drought in the final against NSW, starting on Friday at Canberra's Manuka Oval.

Voges confirmed a top-order batsman was set to be ditched to make room for the returning Mitch Marsh as the Warriors attempted to bolster their line-up.

WA nearly beat NSW at Manuka Oval last week despite scoring just 82 in their first innings, while the previous week's loss to Queensland came after a first-innings total of 175.

"First-innings runs will be the key for us," Voges said.

"Putting runs on the board and then allowing spin and reverse swing to come into the game."

No member of the 14-man WA squad has played in a five-day final, though six have represented Australian teams and veteran Marcus North has won two one-day titles for the Warriors.

And six players were part of the Perth Scorchers team that beat Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League final last month.

The Blues will seek their 46th shield title - compared to the 15 won by WA - and only need to draw the final to secure Australian cricket's oldest domestic prize.

Voges indicated that WA were unlikely to change their attack given the ability of Michael Hogan and Ryan Duffield to gain significant reverse swing in the game against NSW last week, and Jason Behrendorff's emergence as a high-quality paceman.

But Marsh's return from a side strain will force a reshuffle and a tough decision on either opener Cam Bancroft or young all- rounder Ashton Turner.

"If Mitch is ready and fit to play we have to make a tough call," Voges said.

"There are a couple of guys fighting for their spot, but we won't make that call until closer to the game."

While prolific club batsman Alex Malcolm was unable to force his way into the WA squad, Bancroft is under considerable pressure to retain his place.

Bancroft has scored just 64 runs at an average of eight in his past four shield matches and while he scored splendid half centuries in two WA wins early in the season, the State selectors are eager to field a more robust batting line-up.

Marcus Harris is set to return to the top of the order, where he has twice scored centuries, with Shaun Marsh likely to replace him at No.3 and Mitch Marsh coming into the middle order.

NSW regained all-rounder Moises Henriques, who is likely to replace Sean Abbott, while Test spinner Nathan Lyon is lucky to be available after receiving a fine rather than a suspension for kicking a stump out of the ground in response to an umpiring decision going against him last week.

The Blues have been weakened by the Australian call-up of Doug Bollinger for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, with the absence of Michael Clarke due to a fractured shoulder sustained in the third Test at Cape Town this month an added bonus for WA.

  • TEAMS *

WA: Marcus North, Marcus Harris, Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges (capt), Mitch Marsh, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman, Ashton Agar, Ryan Duffield, Jason Behrendorff, Michael Hogan, Cam Bancroft, Nathan Rimmington, Simon Mackin (three to be omitted).

NSW: Nic Maddinson, Ryan Carters, Steve Smith (capt), Ben Rohrer, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Trent Copeland, Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Gurinder Sandhu (two to be omitted).

The West Australian

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