01 Jul, Friday

Batters toil on deteriorating wicket


Batters toil on deteriorating wicket

Praneel HiraAces

Overnight rain and morning showers wiped out the first session of play on Day Three. It certainly didn’t wash away the action, however, with the ACES heading into the final day at the Outer Oval leading by 175 with three wickets up their sleeve. 

When play resumed after lunch was taken early, Seth Rance became Matthew McEwan’s fourth scalp, when he attempted to deposit the ACES’ seamer back over his head.

Luck then went the ACES way for the final wicket. Blair Tickner’s drive bounced back from the stumps at the non-strikers end into the hands of the bowler, McEwan. Tickner overcommitted, McEwan relayed the ball down to Ben Horne, who calmly did the rest.

The ACES second innings started in dramatic fashion, Jeet Raval given a reprieve when Rance overstepped from the Bert Sutcliffe Stand End. Four balls later, Martin Guptill’s leading edge flew to mid-off. 

It didn’t get any easier for the ACES. Rance, in particular, had the ball on a string and attacked the stumps once more, trapping Raval in front. 

By tea, the Stags had half the ACES back in the pavilion. Horne had joined Chapman at 44/5, patiently building the lead in singles. Chapman, who battled away for 103 deliveries, survived a loud shout only for the next ball to shoot through under his bat. 

Kyle Jamieson’s positive cameo took the ACES lead past three figures, but the match swung again when his hard-hit drive found Greg Hay at wide mid-off. 

Ben Horne (39*) was a measure of patience at the other end and found excellent support in Will Somerville (16*), who shook off a second blow to the upper body. The gutsy eighth-wicket partnership currently sits at 32. The 16.1 over stand has the match evenly poised with a day to play and the wicket only getting tougher to play on. 

ACES 210 (Martin Guptill 62, Glenn Phillips 51, Robert O’Donnell 32, Willem Ludick 3-29, Blair Tickner 3-52) and 134/7 (Ben Horne 39*, Mark Chapman 31, Seth Rance 3-29) lead Central Stags 169 (Brad Schmulian 74*, Matthew McEwan 4-51) by 175 runs.