WA fight back after early batting collapse

Lawrence Neil-Smith has snared a career-best 5-43 for Tasmania against Western Australia.
Lawrence Neil-Smith has snared a career-best 5-43 for Tasmania against Western Australia.

A fighting half-century from Josh Philippe and a crucial late wicket from Jhye Richardson has kept Western Australia well and truly in the hunt in their Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania at the WACA Ground.

Tasmania paceman Lawrence Neil-Smith snared career-best figures of 5-43 as WA were dismissed for 238 shortly before stumps on Sunday.

In reply, the Tigers ended the day at 1-8, with Richardson claiming the scalp of Tim Ward for a duck.

Although Tasmania still took the opening-day honours, it could have been a whole lot worse for WA.

The Warriors slumped to 4-40 and 5-80 after losing the toss and being sent in to bat under overcast conditions.

But Philippe (60 off 143 balls) produced a gutsy knock to ensure the damage wasn't disastrous, before some handy runs from tail-enders Richardson (34), Joel Paris (19), and Lance Morris (14no) ensured WA passed 200.

WA also suffered a big batting collapse in their one-day loss to Tasmania on Friday, with the team slumping to 7-81 in that match.

Stand-in WA skipper Ashton Turner described that batting effort as a train wreck, and it wasn't much better early on Sunday as Sam Whiteman (five), Cameron Bancroft (11), Cameron Green (seven), and Shaun Marsh (16) all fell cheaply.

Allrounder Hilton Cartwright (30), Philippe, and D'Arcy Short (24 off 89 balls) dug in deep to stem the bleeding, and some handy runs from the tail gave WA a defendable first-innings total.

And when Richardson, playing his first Shield match since 2019, took the new ball and found the edge of Ward with just his fifth delivery, WA went to the sheds with a spring in their step.

"It's super exciting to have him back," Philippe said of Richardson.

"Even with the bat he's an exciting player, and then with the ball he's bowling nice and fast, swinging it around corners, and he got us a handy wicket to end off the day."

Neil-Smith claimed the key scalps of Marsh, Cartwright, Philippe, and Short among his impressive haul.

"That was really exciting," he said of his maiden first-class five-for.

"I made my debut at this ground as well, so it already held a pretty special place in my heart, and now it makes it even more special.

"I've been lucky to have been under the tutelage of Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird.

"To have SIddle now at mid-off and Birdy for the previous few seasons really helps, they're wise guys."

Philippe's knock was the glue that held WA's innings together.

"It was tough to get into a rhythm. I was just trying to spend as much time out there as I could," he said.

Australian Associated Press