West Australia’s pace attack returns on a day in which they dominated the ball, with South Africa leading by just 107 points – LSB

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South Australia 192 and 119 for 6 (Nielsen 42*) lead Western Australia 204 (Cartwright 40, McAndrew 3-39, Buckingham 3-46) by 107 runs.

Western Australia’s formidable pace attack once again dominated South Australia on the WACA turf surface to regain control of a tense Sheffield Shield competition.

Leading by just 12 runs after being bowled out for 204, WA seized the lead in the final session as the Redbacks crashed to 119 for 6 at stumps on the second day.

Left-arm fast bowler Joel Paris continued his strong form after dismissing opener Jake Carder for a duck in the first over. Sharing the new ball after taking 3 for 11 in South Australia’s first innings, seamer Aaron Hardie trapped Daniel Drew lbw with the Redbacks still trailing by seven runs.

Henry Hunt’s disappointing opening match ended when he trailed by 16 points to Charlie Stubo. Jake Fraser-McGurk, who recently smashed the fastest List A of the century, sought a cavalier approach only to hit Stubo straight to cover the ball in a sloppy dismissal.

Lance Morris bowled a trademark runner and got the wickets of skipper Jake Lehmann and Nathan McSweeney.

Paris was unable to complete the eighth as he was limping after feeling tightness in his left thigh. Given his long injury history, he may not be at risk on day three.

An attractive innings late in the day from wicket-keeper Harry Nielsen gave the Redbacks hopes of setting a difficult target on a bowler-friendly surface.

The result was all but certain on day three in marked contrast to the high-scoring draw between Western Australia and Tasmania in the last Shield match played at the WACA.

After a dismal opening day, South Australia were desperate for early wickets in a bid to get back into contention. The Redbacks were pushed onto a hot surface after batting first mirroring the corresponding game from last season.

They would have had in mind the triple century partnership between Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman en route to a huge victory in Western Australia.

But the Redbacks have proven to be a more assertive team this season led by their dangerous attack, which has brought them back into contention. Hard-working seamer Nathan McAndrew struck early when Whiteman was caught at second slip by Ben Manenti.

It was a relief for Manenti, who dropped Bancroft late in the first day. His mood improved further when Bancroft fell for 20 after clipping a short, wide pass from Jordan Buckingham straight to point.

It was an uncharacteristically hasty dismissal for the disciplined Bancroft, who was once again the standout batsman for the Shield as he looks to return to Test cricket.

WA’s batting hopes were dented just once in the match when Tig Willey was bowled from the inside edge by a Buckingham player, who continued his attractive start to the season.

Buckingham, 23, has been identified by national selectors as a potential pace bowler who has been confirmed by playing for Australia A recently. He made brilliant use of the conditions and conjured up a dangerous swing to bowl effectively with the fast Brendan Doggett, who bowled consistently at around 140km/h.

With WA faltering, Hardie decided to counter-attack and pounced on the shorter deliveries from Buckingham to rally the innings alongside Hilton Cartwright.

But Hardy went down at lunch after being thrown by Manenti, who conjured the turn from the roof just like his breakaway counterpart Corey Rociccioli the day before.

Cartwright then fell to Buckingham after the break as the momentum shifted towards an increasingly confident Redbacks side, who sniffed the lead when Jayden Goodwin ran out after a horrific mix-up with Josh Philipp.

It has been a bitter disappointment for 21-year-old Goodwin, son of former Zimbabwe Test batsman Murray Goodwin, who has found a position in Western Australia’s powerful batting order after veteran Ashton Turner was ruled out through injury.

WA looked set for a deficit at 146 for 8 before Rocchiccioli and Stobo, batting in the top four for his home team in Perth, effectively bowled the bat in a 58-run freewheeling partnership.

Momentum returned to Western Australia and the bowlers did not let it go.

Tristan Lavallette is a journalist based in Perth

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