Two Starc hat tricks and a stunning NSW victory

Hurstville Oval’s first Sheffield Shield match turned into a cracker. Victory to NSW over WA by 171 runs at 6.14pm on the final day with Mitchell Starc taking his second hat-trick of the match.

I was at the ground for the final two sessions of the last day.

Beautiful Melbourne Cup afternoon at Hurstville Oval watching Mitchell Starc charge in to bowl. #NSWvWA #sheffieldshield #cricket

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With the SCG unavailable due to returfing of the outfield before the BBL/international season, New South Wales played Western Australia at St George DCC’s home ground on November 4-7, 2017. Both teams at full strength with positions in the First Test team up for grabs.

NSW was sent into bat on the Saturday and made 270, Steve Smith top scoring with 76. WA replied with 176, their first innings brought to a crashing halt on the Monday morning when Mitchell Starc dismissed Behrendorff, Moody and Mackin in the last three deliveries for his first career hat-trick. Cameron Bancroft carried his bat for WA for 76 not out, the first wicketkeeper in Shield history to do so.

NSW declared their second innings closed before lunch on the final day, Tuesday Melbourne Cup Day, at 9 for 300. Smith himself top scored with 127, the highest first-class score at the ground (previously 119 by Michael Bevan, NSW against Western Province South Africa, 1995). WA’s target was 395 for victory in 87 overs.

Openers Shaun Marsh and Cameron Bancroft played very well until the WA skipper was caught behind by Nevill off Hazlewood for 91 right on the tea break. WA at that stage was 1/179, and with 116 to win from 40 overs they were well positioned to chase the outright win.

Shaun Marsh leaves the field after an innings of 91 for Western Australia. #NSWvWA #sheffieldshield #cricket

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WA’s aspirations for victory soon evaporated, however. Hilton Cartwright bagged a pair for the match – he may be Australia’s incumbent Test number six, and the High Performance people clearly like him, but I can’t see him facing England at The Gabba. When Bancroft fell lbw to Cummins on 86 he had been on the field for the entire match up to that point.

MItch Marsh departed for 6 and 0/179 had become 4/191 and the draw seemed the likely option when Ashton Turner and Jono Wells put the shutters up to Nathan Lyon. But after the spinner removed Turner and Darcy Short, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were breathing fire and WA tried to hold on as the sun set behind the western stands.

Attacking field for Pat Cummins as NSW chases victory late on day 4 against WA. #NSWvWA #sheffieldshield #cricket

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With the score at 7 for two-two-two Starc removed Behrendorff caught behind and then castled Moody who registered a king pair for the game. One wicket to fall, the end of the over, Starc on yet another hat-trick if the match went that far.

Wells negotiated Cummins’ next over taking a single to protect Simon Mackin from the strike.

The next photo is of Starc’s first delivery of the next over, the hat-trick ball:

Western Australia all out 223 having lost their last ten wickets for 44 runs. New South Wales winners at 6.14pm on Tuesday evening by 171 runs. Mitchell Starc, having taken an 8-fer against South Australia last week, finished this match with 4/56 and 3/41, both innings concluding with a hat-trick. No one has ever taken two hat-tricks in a first-class match in Australia before.

Being Melbourne Cup Day a few hundred spectators (including myself) skipped the office parties and the pub for the cricket, which didn’t stop for the big event – Nathan Lyon got a complete over in while the race was in progress. I think by being there we backed a winner.

The Cricket Australia website has a full scorecard of the match, including video replays of every dismissal.

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