WA tail-enders survive in Shield draw v SA

Justin Chadwick and Rob ForsaithAAP
Paceman David Grant (r) took four second-innings as SA fell just shy of a Shield victory in WA.
Camera IconPaceman David Grant (r) took four second-innings as SA fell just shy of a Shield victory in WA.

Tail-enders Cameron Gannon and Liam O'Connor have played heroic roles with the bat to secure a thrilling draw for Western Australia in their Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia at the WACA Ground.

Chasing 332 for victory on Sunday, WA crashed to 5-88 and 7-122 before their salvage mission went into full throttle.

Hilton Cartwright (25 off 122 balls) shook off a painful back injury to keep the Redbacks at bay, but his dismissal with 5.5 overs left in the day had WA on the verge of defeat.

The Warriors slumped to 9-143 when Liam Guthrie departed for a six-ball duck, leaving Gannon and O'Connor with 23 balls to see off in order to secure a draw.

Gannon (13 not out off 65 balls) did his job to a tee, but O'Connor (0 not out off 11 balls) was left the face the entire final over against paceman Chad Sayers.

O'Connor saw off the first five balls of the over with ease, but it was heart-in-mouth stuff as the final ball of the match struck his bat and popped up towards point.

The ball fell just short of the fielder, with Redbacks players left to rue the near miss.

WA finished at 9-148, leaving them 184 runs short of victory but thrilled to come away with the draw.

"I was just chatting to Cam Gannon, and it's a weird feeling," Cartwright said.

"You feel like you've won something, but really you've just drawn it. I guess we've just won that moment over the four days. It's a bizarre feeling. Its definitely nice to have not lost."

The Redbacks had young paceman David Grant (4-38) to thank for giving them a chance to secure victory.

Grant, aged 23 and playing his first Shield game since 2017, shifted momentum in a single over during the post-lunch session.

The right-armer removed Cameron Bancroft and Cameron Green, who both reached three figures in WA's first innings, in the space of three deliveries.

Test allrounder Green was trapped lbw for a second-ball duck, while Bancroft (30) cut a wide delivery to Henry Hunt at point.

Daniel Worrall (4-30) ripped through the middle and lower order to give WA a late fright.

Earlier, half-centuries from Alex Carey and Harry Nielsen helped SA declare at 9-230 during the morning session.

SA resumed at 4-142 on day four, holding a 243-run lead.

Carey (82 not out) and Nielsen (67) kept the game ticking along during the opening hour, prompting Redbacks skipper Travis Head to declare for the second time in the match.

Carey, whose previous first-class game was a tour match against India in early December, scored freely on the flat pitch.

Head scored a career-best 223 in the first innings to put the game on SA's terms and win man-of-the-match honours.

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