Cooper on a roll but SA slips up
TOM Cooper was a rare ray of sunshine as Victorian paceman Scott Boland yesterday ripped through the Redbacks for a sub-par score on the first day of the Sheffield Shield clash at the MCG.
Cooper put together a fine ton for the second match in a row after starring against Queensland in Adelaide last week and now has 12 first-class centuries to his name after clubbing 18 fours and a six.
But Cooper, who has been on the fringe of the team, only had Jake Lehmann – who made a half-century – as any stable company in the middle.
They put together a 98-run stand and had SA in a strong position at 4/231 at tea before calamity struck.
The pair had revived a sinking innings after Jake Weatherald and Callum Ferguson fell for single figures but when they departed there was nothing left.
Boland snared a stunning 5/8 in four overs after tea to finish with devastating figures of 7/54 from 17 overs.
South Australia lost its last six wickets for just 13.
The wicket had a greenish tinge to it but Victoria settled quickly in its first innings and will resume at 0/72 this morning, Travis Dean having reached 56 from 79 balls.
But Cooper said there was life in the match and the wicket and suggested a few early scalps could change the complexion of the clash.
“Unfortunately the day didn’t quite end as we would have liked,” Cooper said. “So we’ve got a bit of work to do in the morning.
“I’m not sure (what happened). We went into tea in I thought a really strong position after fighting hard in that middle session.
“And then that burst from Scotty Boland … a few bad shots and it’s one of those things.
“But there’s still a little bit in that wicket and we bowled reasonably well without luck.
“Hopefully we can come back in the morning and get a few early ones and be right back in the game.”
Cooper has made the most of his opportunities after initially being dropped for the Queensland game and only gaining a reprieve when Ferguson withdrew with a calf strain.
“It was an interesting week last week,” Cooper said. “It would have been nice to stand here saying that with the team in a better position but it’s always nice to score runs personally.”
Boland thrust his name in front of national selectors with yesterday’s stunning spell.
“I feel like the ball’s coming out really well,” said Boland, the leading Shield wickettaker with 22 from five innings.
“I got a couple to reverse swing and got a couple of lucky nicks but I tried to hit the wicket pretty hard.
“I think everyone has ambitions to play for Australia ... if it happens it happens. But there’s so many good quicks in front of me, I’m not holding my breath. If I keep taking wickets and we keep winning games I’ll be happy.”