26 Jun, Sunday

ACES face challenging final day chase


ACES face challenging final day chase

Praneel HiraAces

Moving day definitely delivered as both the ACES and Northern Districts accelerated the game at the Outer Oval.

If there was any wondering about the ACES’ Day Three intentions, Mark Chapman took six balls to paint a picture. Ish Sodhi’s first four balls went by without fanfare before the Chapman (143) deposited back-to-back sixes over the mid-wicket boundary.

The ACES’ centurion was caught at slip an over later when Mitchell Santner found a bit of extra bounce. From there, the ACES wasted little time in collecting their third and fourth batting points with Robbie O’Donnell leading the way with 65.

The skipper had good support from Sean Solia (35*) before the ACES declared at 351/5. The declaration saw the ACES hand over an 87-run lead with five and a half sessions to play.

Lockie Ferguson and Ben Lister then fired up before lunch, picking up the wickets of Tim Seifert and Henry Cooper respectively. At 26/2, the ACES had the ball zipping around.

Joe Carter and Bharat Popli, however, found a way through the opening spells and prospered with a third-wicket stand of 112 either side of the lunch break.

When Solia dragged Northern Districts back with the wickets of Popli (56) and Santner in the lead up to tea, the ACES would have had plans to keep the visitors lead under 300.

The evening session didn’t quite unfold that way with Carter (120) easing to his second hundred of the match. The ACES continued to fight; Ferguson ended Katene Clarke’s career-best 44 as the youngster gloved a short ball through to Ben Horne, who claimed his 100th First Class catch.

Louis Delport toiled away throughout the day and was eventually rewarded with a pair of leg-before decisions. Despite the loss of regular wickets, Northern Districts remained positive towards the end of the day.

Solia returned to take the wickets of Ish Sodhi and Brett Randell in the same over to claim career-best figures of 4-33. With overs running out in the day, it was left to Delport (3-95) to put an end to the visitors’ second innings, when Jeet Raval held on to a fine running catch at mid-on.

The ACES will hope for bright blue skies on Day Four as the scene has been set for a fourth-innings chase of 371.