Western Australia 262 and 5 for 275 (Wells 107*, Whiteman 104) lead Tasmania 402 (Doolan 202*, Behrendorff 5-80) by 135 runs
Sam Whiteman scored his third first-class hundred © Getty Images
Centuries to Jonathan Wells and Sam Whiteman gave Western Australia hope on the third day against Tasmania, where they turned a 140-run first-innings deficit into a 135-run lead by the close of play. Wells finished the day unbeaten on 107 and was batting with debutant D’Arcy Short, who was on 29, and their total had moved along to 5 for 275.
The morning had started with Tasmania on 7 for 388, but that was effectively 8 for 388 as Alex Doolan, who had gone to stumps on 202, retired hurt overnight after being diagnosed with delayed effects of concussion from a blow to the helmet during his innings. The Tigers added only 14 to their total before being bowled out for 402, with Jason Behrendorff finishing with 5 for 80.
Western Australia opener Cameron Bancroft then missed out on the chance to remind Australia’s selectors of his potential as a Test batsman when he was bowled by Simon Milenko for 11. Bancroft had managed only 2 in the first innings and has not posted a half-century in any of his six Sheffield Shield innings this summer.
Milenko added the wicket of veteran Michael Klinger, who was caught behind for a duck, and Hamish Kingston chipped in with a couple of wickets to leave Western Australia in serious danger at 4 for 44. But then came a rescue mission from Wells and Whiteman, who put on 166 for the fifth wicket to ensure the Warriors stayed in the match.
Wells was given an unusual reprieve on 13 when he was given out by umpire John Ward, who determined that the batsman had edged James Faulkner onto his pad and to slip. However, before Wells had left the field, Ward had second thoughts about his decision and reversed his call, deciding that in fact Wells had not edged the ball.
Wells made great use of that chance and went on to score a long-awaited maiden first-class century, in his 39th match, and having debuted for Tasmania back in December 2008. An opening batsman who has often frustrated by not capitalising on his talent, Wells has finally broken through to score a Sheffield Shield hundred at the age of 28.
At the other end, Whiteman brought up his third first-class century and perhaps gave Australia’s selectors something else to think about as they ponder wicketkeeping options and whether to persist with Peter Nevill. Whiteman, who played first-class games for Australia A this winter, was eventually lbw to Jackson Bird for 104, having already made 54 in the first innings.
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