History has been made on a crazy day of Sheffield Shield cricket, which may also have narrowed Australia’s search for a all-rounder.
Australia has long been on the lookout for a world-class all-rounder after being torn apart by Andrew Flintoff in the 2001 Ashes series but has never completely settled on the right man.
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But to start the 2020, there are several played who have put their hands up.
Western Australian Cameron Green impressed in his first season in first-class cricket last season but one of the craziest days in domestic cricket memory has pushed the claims of two more.
The last time a player had scored a century and taken a five wicket haul in a Sheffield Shield match was Mitchell Johnson in 2010 but on an incredible day, Queensland’s Michael Neser and Western Australian Ashton Agar have put their name up in lights with the feat.
Queensland’s Michael Neser had already taken 5/32 in Tasmania’s first innings, with the Bulls running through the Tigers for 250.
Aussie star Marnus Labuschagne hit 167 yesterday but he was well supported when Neser cracked his maiden Sheffield Shield century with 121 off 168 balls with 19 fours and a six.
He was the last man out as Queensland hit a massive 529 all out, leaving Tasmania needing 279 runs to make the Bulls bat again at Glady Elphick Park in Adelaide.
But at the nearby Karen Rolton Oval, Agar, the man who debuted in Test cricket with 98 from No. 11, hit his third first-class century with 114 not out off 184 balls in a record partnership with Josh Inglis in a day two demolition.
Day three, the slow left arm orthodox spinner took hold of the match, taking 5/103, reaching the same mark as Neser about an hour later.
Cricinfo said it was the 33rd and 34th occasions of the all-rounder’s double happening in Sheffield Shield cricket, with West Indian legend Sir Garfield Sobers managing the feat four times in the three seasons he played for South Australia in the 1960s.
“It’s special,” Neser said of the innings. “A couple of times I have been stranded in the 70s and 80s and it was one of my goals to score a century in Shield cricket so now that I have done it it’s a weight off my shoulders and I can focus on getting another one.
“I have done a lot of work on my batting, the off-season gave me a chance to do that. A bit of confidence helps.”
But if the wave of calls on Twitter is anything to go by, he might be looking for his next hundred under a Baggy Green.
While Agar has already played four Test matches, plenty of cricket fans liked what they saw from Neser.
It’s been a great start with the bat this season with six centuries across two games in the first three days of the Sheffield Shield season.
Hopefully this type of form can continue into the Test summer.