Fringe Test allrounder Moises Henriques gave selectors a forceful reminder of his game-changing ability with a brilliant century on day one of NSW’s Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia.
The 26-year-old was near flawless as he made a mockery of the Redbacks’ decision to send NSW in under clear skies, scoring 127 as the Blues finished the day 373 all out.
Henriques sent SA’s bowling to all areas of the SCG – including two monster sixes.
He has had a disrupted start to the Australian summer, which began when he missed the entire domestic one-day tournament while on duty with the national team in India.
Lacklustre efforts in two Shield clashes followed, before a groin injury forced him to miss last week’s win over Tasmania.
“Obviously the little setback with the injury was a little bit frustrating but you’ve just got be able to be flexible and make sure you take the opportunities when you can,” he said.
“…It was good to get out there and spend a bit of time in the middle.
“I would’ve like to have spent a bit more, but I don’t want to get greedy.”
A 187-run fourth-wicket partnership between Henriques and veteran Ben Rohrer (97) dragged the Blues from a tricky situation at lunch, when they were 3-84, to a healthy position by stumps.
Redbacks skipper Johan Botha took the first risk in the top-of-the-table match when he elected to field and appeared vindicated when his bowlers, led by Joe Mennie (4-60), knocked over NSW’s top three by lunch.
But Rohrer and Henriques went on the attack immediately after the break, taking on offspinner Botha (1-63) and Gary Putland (1-103) as both raced past 50.
Rohrer finished an agonising three runs shy of his first century of the summer, falling lbw by Kane Richardson (1-51).
Where he failed, Henriques thrived – blasting his way through the nervous 90s to secure just his second first-class century, and his first since September last year.
Henriques hammered 15 fours to go with his two sixes before Botha exacted some revenge by trapping him lbw, while Rohrer smashed 19 boundaries himself.
Captain Peter Nevill (42no) cashed in late to drive home the Blues’ day one advantage.
Earlier, Mennie dismissed Scott Henry (18) and Nic Maddinson (38) to give the visitors the upper hand after the first session.
He also grabbed the final two wickets, as NSW lost their last six wickets for 53, to finish the pick of the bowlers along with Chadd Sayers who knocked over Copeland and Steve O’Keefe (4) to finish with 3-82.
“We were staring down the barrel of 450 plus, really, so for us to come back and bowl them all out for 375 is really good from our point of view,” Mennie said.
At the Gabba, Queensland are 4-263 at stumps on day one of their Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria.
Victoria kept Queensland in check with the ball on a flat deck after the hosts won the toss and were cruising at 0-131.
The Bulls lost 2-26 when openers Luke Pomersbach (73) and Joe Burns (75) went quickly in the middle session.
And Queensland stumbled again when they lost 2-7 as Scott Boland (3-35 off 18 overs) sparked the dismissals of Test aspirant Usman Khawaja (40) and Chris Lynn (33).
However, Bulls skipper James Hopes (19 not out) and Peter Forrest (17 not out) dug in to ensure honours were shared by stumps.
Both teams are desperate to kick-start their Shield campaigns in the last round of four-day matches before the competition takes a break for the Big Bash League Twenty20 tournament.
Bottom team Queensland have approached the clash as a must win game after amassing just four points in five matches – 14 behind leaders NSW – while the second-last Bushrangers (8 points) are reeling from two outright losses.
At Bellerive Oval, Tim Paine got five catches for his birthday and the Tasmanian skipper still believes his keeping could deliver him the biggest present of all.
Paine’s 29th birthday haul included a spectacular 30-metre sprint and dive as Western Australia crashed to be all out for 258 on day one of the Sheffield Shield match.
The former Test player, who suffered a career-threatening broken finger in 2010, has always maintained his glove work can set him apart from Australia’s group of wicketkeeper/batsmen.
“I haven’t felt at my best the last few games but I know I’m not far away with both bat and gloves,” he said.
“I know when that happens, particularly with the gloves, I hold myself in a good light.”
But Paine downplayed his brilliant effort to get rid of WA’s Sam Whiteman (24), whose top edge was buffeted by strong winds in Hobart.
“I would have been disappointed if I didn’t catch that,” he said.
“(But) certainly any high ball in gusty, breezy conditions is hard to take.”
The Warriors had seemingly been cruising at 2-172 as young opener Cameron Bancroft (93) and in-form skipper Adam Voges (59) put on 113 for the third wicket.
But they lost 8-86 after being sent in by Paine under grey skies.
In reply, Tasmania were 0-7 at stumps.
Voges looked in superb touch following up an unbeaten 235 against Queensland, sweetly timing nine fours before he became one of Paine’s victims at 3-172, a decision the batsman looked unimpressed with.
Bancroft made his highest score but fell short of his first Shield ton when he rashly tried to hit Xavier Doherty (1-54) over the top and was caught at 5-202.
The 21-year-old said the strong winds, with wreaked havoc with the bails, had been a challenge after WA had negotiated seam-friendly conditions early.
“When the bails flew off the first time I actually thought I was going to land on my back,” Bancroft said.
Tasmanian seamers Evan Gulbis (3-44) and Luke Butterworth (3-46) claimed three scalps each.
“We’re a little bit disappointed with how the day ended,” Bancroft said.
“We had Tasmania on the ropes there for a little bit.”