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Turner switch puts WA in command of Shield final

Ashton Turner’s turn of the century in the bowlers-dominated Marsh Sheffield Shield final not only elevated Western Australia into a position of strength against Victoria, but ended their long run-scoring drought in the ball format red.

When Turner hit his ton with a perfectly placed single into the middle of the wicket from Test spinner Todd Murphy shortly before lunch on day three, he celebrated his fourth first-class ton, but his first since November 2017.

He achieved the milestone of 190 balls faced in an innings that included nine boundaries and six as WA surpassed Victoria’s first innings of 195 and extended their lead to 60.

Turner went to lunch unbeaten at 102 having been involved in a crucial unbeaten seventh wicket position of 77 (from 197 balls) with closer Joel Paris, who was not 23 out.

Becoming the first player in the Shield final to post an individual score over 50, he vindicated WA’s decision to return him to their red ball team more than two years after he appeared to have ended his Shield career against New Wales. South in Adelaide. .

Before being called up to the WA Shield lineup for the final game of the regular season, as a replacement for veteran batsman Shaun Marsh, who announced his retirement last month, Turner had been deemed above the requirements for top-class plans for WA.

Turner raises the bat for the drought-breaking ton

The attacking right-hander, who earned a limited 27 caps for Australia between 2019 and 2021, scored his previous Shield half-century against Victoria at the MCG in December 2018, at which point his red-ball batting went into free fall.

In his next six Shield innings in nearly three seasons, Turner scored just 24 runs at an average of four and highest score of six before losing his place during the COVID-19 affected 2020-21 season as WA began its resurgence. .

The 30-year-old has remained an integral part of the state’s white ball program during that time, captaining WA to back-to-back Marsh One Day Cup titles, as well as the Perth Scorchers to successive wins over the past two years.

And it was his hitting in the recent BBL decider against the Brisbane Heat that bolstered his value in pressure situations.

In that game at Perth Stadium, Turner went to the wicket with the Scorchers 3-54 in the eighth chasing 176 and duly struck 53 from 32 deliveries reducing the target to 29 from 19 balls when he was sent off, which the home side reached with four leftover balls

WA was facing similar uncertainty when Turner took guard in his first Shield final shortly after lunch yesterday.

Having bowled out Victoria for 195 to ensure the visitors did not claim bonus points in their batting innings, WA lost 3-1 in 10 overs after lunch and fell to 4-53 when Turner was joined by all-rounder Aaron Hardie with the I play on the scales.

Turner was the pair’s 86-run aggressor at position (from 22 overs) as he took Victoria’s seams to the point that he would occasionally come out of his crease on release to try to disrupt the bowler’s lengths.

He featured in another crucial position (39 of 79 balls) with goalkeeper Josh Philippe and then Paris as WA took a first-innings lead and began to set Victoria up with a target at the back of Turner’s counter-attack.

Turner, Hardie counter attack as WA pushes into the lead

“Part of the reason we brought him in when Shaun (Marsh) retired was that he had a pretty good season in all formats,” WA manager Adam Voges said at the close of the first day Turner had arrived. at 49 no.

“He’s been scoring runs, but also the experience and calm he brings, plus the leadership qualities he brings.

“I thought we saw that again today.

“We lost three quick wickets, Scott Boland was bowling particularly well and we were under a bit of pressure to be able to counter-attack like he did in that partnership with Aaron Hardie and fight the momentum coming our way.

“It’s easy to say you’re going to do that, but then to go out there and execute it and do it the way he did it was exceptional.

“We needed someone to stand up.”

Turner’s innings were not only at odds with the bowler-dominated trend that the game had followed for the first two days, but came at a pace that had also not been seen before.

Scoring at a rate of over 50 per 100 balls faced, Turner became the first batsman in the Shield decider to accept the WACA pitch that had seen Victoria starter Ashley Chandrasinghe work his way to 46 not since. 280 balls faced (score rate 16.42) in his team’s first innings.

“I think you have to be proactive,” Voges said when asked about the merits of the aggressive approach taken by Turner and Hardie (45 of 86 balls).

“You have to try to put some pressure back on when the bowling group misses with their lengths.

“That was probably hard to do with (Scott) Boland in particular, and (Will) Sutherland got some nice rewards as well.

“So we had to try to find a way, and anytime you play batsman, you’re always looking to score runs and most of our batsmen play better when they’re looking to score.”


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