Mark Waugh belts Western Australia

Brent Read

January 23, 2003

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NEWCASTLE, NSW, Jan 23 AAP - Mark Waugh shed his batting blues as NSW bounced back from some early trouble to end day one in a good position in their Pura Cup cricket match against Western Australia.

Waugh has struggled to make runs for his state this summer, but he was back to something near his best today with an impressive 73 as NSW reached 7-322 at stumps on day one at Newcastle's No.1 Sportsground.

Stuart Clark was not out on seven with Stuart MacGill ten.

Young WA wrist spinner Beau Casson (1-55 from 12 overs) should have had Waugh when the former Test batsman was on 15, but wicketkeeper Ryan Campbell missed the stumping chance.

And Waugh made WA pay.

The elegant batsman slipped into the groove after tea, smashing one Casson delivery over mid-off for six and bringing up his half-century from only 75 balls.

He was eventually dismissed when he became Callum Thorp's (2-56, 23) first wicket in first-class cricket, waving at a delivery outside off stump which was taken by Campbell.

But partnerships of 92 with Michael Clarke (69) and 80 with Brad Haddin (39) saved NSW after it was teetering at 4-131 after lunch.

"I've actually been hitting the ball well this season but just haven't scored the runs. It would have been nice to get a hundred but 70 is a good score in the conditions today," Waugh said.

"There was a bit there for the bowlers and to get over 300 puts us in a good position. We haven't made a lot of runs and we were pretty determined today to make a good score. I think that's a good score because the wicket is not easy."

Clarke, who made his one-day international debut for Australia on Sunday, was also punishing Casson, hitting the young spinner's first ball of the match over the mid-wicket fence and into an adjacent stormwater drain.

The game was halted for five minutes while the ball was recovered by some enthusiastic children but it was in no condition to be used, forcing the umpires to find a replacement.

"Fortunately for me it was a full toss. Luckily it hit the middle and didn't go straight up in the air," Clarke said.

"It was a great opportunity to spend some time out there with Mark. He's been fantastic since he came back to NSW and seems like he's enjoying himself.

"As a younger player we're rapt to have him around. On a wicket that was doing a bit he led the way."

Casson eventually exacted revenge, drawing a faint edge from Clarke which Campbell gleefully accepted.

Thorp added the wicket of Haddin late in the day as WA struck back.

Captain Justin Langer had won the toss and looked to have made the right decision to field after some good early work from tall left arm paceman Michael Clark (3-72, 18), who took the wickets of Michael Slater (42) and Simon Katich (0) before lunch and added Greg Mail (40) after lunch.

Matthew Nicholson (1-27) also chipped in, taking the vital wicket of Steve Waugh for 20 as the Blues' batting frailties re-appeared.

© 2003 AAP NewsWire

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