NSW v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Sydney, 1st day March 10, 2011

North hundred puts Blues on back foot

ESPNcricinfo staff

Western Australia 4 for 310 (North 136*, M Marsh 89*) v New South Wales

Marcus North compiled his first Sheffield Shield century since being axed from Australia's Test side, as Western Australia frustrated New South Wales on the opening day in Sydney. The Blues have secured a place in the final and beating Western Australia would give them a chance of hosting it, but North and Mitchell Marsh did their best to thwart that goal.

North finished the day unbeaten on 136 and Marsh was on a career-best 89, as the Warriors reached 4 for 310 having taken the risk of choosing to bat on a grassy pitch in overcast conditions. It was a fine turnaround after they were 4 for 99, with the teenager Patrick Cummins having picked up two wickets in a New South Wales attack missing Stuart Clark, who had a heel injury.

They fielded an inexperienced pace group, with the debutant Nic Bills taking 1 for 85 and Trent Copeland leading the attack. Copeland bowled a remarkable 22 overs in his opening spell, either side of the lunch break, but by stumps he had just one reward, the caught-behind wicket of Adam Voges for 1.

There was plenty of young talent on display in the match with the Warriors' teenage opening batsman Marcus Harris making 21 and their 20-year-old No.4 Tom Beaton posting 27. Under Mickey Arthur, Western Australia have had a bright second half to their season, with two wins from their past three games.