Sheffield Shield round 4 wrap: NSW finally win a game and do we have a possible bolter selection for the summer Tests?

Round 4 separated the likely from the aspirational. It produced a huge upset and exposed some frailties in other sides.

Victoria vs Tasmania CitiPower Centre, Geelong

3 Sentence Summary
Tasmania provided a stern test for Victoria’s young attack. The Vics fought hard, but in the end the match petered out into a tame draw. Some outstanding highlights from both sides showed that both sides possess great quality.

Who pushed Test claims?
How much do the selectors take into consideration runs made on flat tracks? If so, Marcus Harris and Tim Ward pushed their cases for consideration to be in the Australian side. However, it is both openers’ first major scores of significance for this season, and it will be interesting to see how they progress in future rounds. Meanwhile, Beau Webster has continued his outstanding season and should be in consideration for higher honours.

Victoria’s Marcus Harris. (Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Who did not push Test claims?
After a stellar start to the season, Matt Short has come back to earth a little. Whilst 2/58 off 20 overs is a good return for any bowler, a second ball duck has halted his batting momentum a little. In a match like this where so many runs were scored, picking someone who did not push Test claims is difficult.

New South Wales vs Western Australia Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

3 Sentence Summary
STOP THE PRESS! New South Wales has finally won a game! In the biggest win for New South Wales since 2014 (when they stopped the mighty Queensland State of Origin dynasty), they produced a really good game on a pitch which offered a bit to the bowlers.

Who Pushed Test Claims?
Chris Tremain picked up another 7 wickets in this game to go 5 clear of Nathan McAndrew as the leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield. His former teammate Scott Boland had a similar season a couple of years ago flying under the radar and made a now-famous debut on Boxing Day. Could Tremain be in for a similar trajectory?

Who Did Not Push Test Claims?
Nathan Lyon. Obviously, the GOAT is not going to be upstaged at this point in his career, but being out bowled by rising star Corey Rocchiccioli shows that he still has some work to do before the Test season begins. One thing is for sure is that Lyon has the better haircut of the two.

Queensland vs South Australia The Gabba, Brisbane

3 Sentence Summary
Queensland are rueing bowling first and a first innings losing by just 3 runs. The undoubted match of the round featured a competitive declaration from Jake Lehmann, wonderful centuries from Henry Hunt, Usman Khawaja and Nathan McSweeney. Queensland will need to ensure that they start to win some matches so they continue to push for the top two.

Michael Neser. (Photo by Peter Mundy/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Who Pushed Test Claims?
Henry Hunt finally made that elusive ton, and he went on and made it a big one. Hunt’s 169 sent a timely reminder of his potential to the selectors. He will probably need a few more runs to stand out amidst a crowded field, but this was a great reminder of his talent.

Who Did Not Push Test Claims?
Michael Neser. When was the last time any player, let alone Neser, had 0 runs and 0 wickets across both batting and bowling innings for both innings? Neser conceded at less than 3 runs per over and took a catch, but other than that, he did very little to contribute to the match. He had better hope that the selectors take his past performances over this one!

Round four’s best XI

This looks at the best players in each position and fits them in where appropriate. Players can be moved down a rung in the batting order from where they normally bat, but they cannot move up. For example, Matthew Renshaw could open or bat at 3, but since he did not make runs in the middle order, he would not be eligible to bat in the middle order. The objective of this is to track the consistency across the Shield season. At least one player from each side should be selected unless one team utterly dominated that round.

Henry Hunt
Marcus Harris
Charlie Wakim
Usman Khawaja
Nathan McSweeney
Ollie Davies
Jimmy Peirson
Beau Webster
Joel Paris
Nathan McAndrew
Chris Tremain

Stay tuned for Round 5!


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