Cooper on a roll but SA slips up

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - JESPER FJELDSTAD

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.”

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