A dogged Cam Bancroft century has paved the way for WA to farewell retiring captain Adam Voges in the Sheffield Shield final next week.
Voges was 48 not out last night in what could be his final innings at the WACA Ground as the inspired Warriors had the better of the opening day against a wayward NSW attack.
Victoria will host the final in Alice Springs next week, and Voges’ next home appearance is likely to be for Perth Scorchers, who may be based at Perth Stadium next season.
WA remain alive in the shield competition after their rejigged top order fired for one of the few times this season to lift them to a highly competitive 5-360 after being sent in on a heavily thatched but patchy WACA surface.
It was WA’s best opening day of a WACA match since March 2008 when they made 372 against Tasmania, with current coach Justin Langer scoring a century in his final appearance.
Victory would guarantee the second-placed Blues a place in the final but they have a fight on their hands against a highly motivated home team eager to see off its captain in memorable fashion.
Voges was brimming with confidence as he passed 20 for just the second time this season and he needs to reach 105 to become the sixth batsman after Langer, Mike Hussey, Tom Moody, Graeme Wood and Geoff Marsh with 6000 runs at the ground.
WA’s strong position was based on the top order firing at last with consecutive century stands being produced for the first time this season.
Then Josh Inglis (35 not out) helped Voges put on a breezy half-century stand.
Bancroft was the pivotal figure with a painstaking 104 that helped Hilton Cartwright (70) and Ashton Turner (84) build the substantial top-order partnerships that had been absent during WA’s four consecutive losses to start the season.
Cartwright was on track for his second straight century after a blistering onslaught in which he hit 12 fours and a massive second-ball six off spinner Will Somerville.
The one-Test batsman has been identified as the WA bats-man best equipped to occupy No.3 for the foreseeable future.
Turner was promoted to No.4 in place of Voges as the captain prepares the change of guard.
Queensland had a poor opening day against Victoria at Allan Border Field in their bid to reach the final.
The Bulls’ batting fell in a heap, slumping from 2-101 to 8-123, and they were dismissed for 208. Victoria are 0-20.
Chadd Sayers is on target to finish as the season’s leading wicket-taker again, but South Australia were let down by their batsmen in Hobart.
The visitors were dismissed for 225. Sayers helped them get back into the game by taking 2-33 in Tasmania’s reply of 3-76.