Victoria v WA, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne, 2nd day October 31, 2013

Fawad's six triggers Warriors collapse

Victoria 312 (White 83, Handscomb 69, Behrendorff 4-62) and 0 for 33 lead Western Australia 270 (Rogers 95, Fawad 6-68) by 75 runs

Fawad Ahmed's legspin created the kind of mayhem Australia's selectors hope he can generate in the Ashes this summer to earn Victoria first-innings points and a useful lead over Western Australia after two days of the Sheffield Shield match at the MCG. Rob Quiney and the Test opener Chris Rogers were untroubled in the 13 overs they faced before stumps, having not expected to be batting again so soon.

While Nathan Lyon remains the incumbent spinner, a desire to pit England's batsmen against wrist spin will have been enhanced significantly by Fawad's collection of his best first-class figures in his maiden long-form innings of the season. The national selector John Inverarity had predicted the Shield matches that preceded the naming of the first Test squad would be "very important to his career", and he has made the ideal start.

From 3 for 218 the Warriors lost a feverish 7 for 52, the last five wickets falling to Fawad in a spell of aggression, guile and noticeable side spin. His success in wrapping up the WA innings overshadowed some earlier harsh treatment meted out by Shaun Marsh, who squandered a fluent start in his own efforts to press for a place in the Ashes top six.

"If I'm in a good rhythm, feeling good inside like today … it doesn't matter who you're playing against when the ball's coming nicely out of the hand," Fawad said afterwards. "At the end the ball was dipping and it was easier to bowl. It all depends on rhythm … when it's coming out nicely out of the hand, it's all good.

"The positive thing about leg-spinners is when they're getting into a rhythm they can take quick wickets. To be a wicket-taker it doesn't matter if the economy rate is high; it's all about the wicket-taking. Five wickets came in six, seven overs so that was pretty good.

"If I'm going well it'd be great to be representing Australia, not just by [pressure] from media and people saying I'm a good bowler. It's better to prove yourself in the middle of the ground, then you can get a chance and if you're performing well I can think of nothing better than doing that for your country."

WA's early progress had been quite serene, led by a neat 95 from John Rogers. Fawad's entry to the attack drew an lbw decision against Marcus North but also a flurry of aggressive strokes from Marsh, and at one point his figures were 1 for 51 at around five runs per over. But Marsh's exit to Scott Boland encouraged the Victoria captain Matthew Wade to recall Fawad to the bowling crease, and the rewards would be rich.

The wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman will curse an injudicious slog that offered Fawad his second wicket, but the rest were defeated by spin, bounce and variations. Ashton Agar and Nathan Rimmington were both caught in close from deliveries that turned and bounced, while Hilton Cartwright was opened up gloriously by a googly between bat and pad.

The last man Michael Hogan appeared to have fallen caught behind to Fawad soon after, but the umpire Jeff Joshua reversed his decision as the teams were walking from the MCG. Hogan and Jason Behrendorff crept the Warriors closer to Victoria's 312, before Fawad induced another excited waft by Hogan that was held by John Hastings running from cover.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    Great to see Cam White continue his amazing run of form, a streak only second to that of Bailey who has been an absolute monster recently. Although it is a very long shot at this stage, it would be fitting for his great streak to translate into a Test squad spot, or maybe put him on notice to cover for Clarke if required.

  • Peter on October 31, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    @Mitty2. I got to echo your comments on a few points. While I have been critical of Fawad's quick elevation, constant strikes and sustained form is the perfect ingredient to offer as a test spot, not an odd good performance or 2. I really do wish him the best given what he has achieved in his personal life to date. And agree with WA, what is wrong with that state? Shaun Marsh being captain sort of tops it off in my books. He hasn't been the epitome of senior leadership, his form has deviated to very good to very poor, his attitude the same yet he leads the team, and this after being dropped for the last few matches last season? & Hasn't scored runs in the longer format since? The Vics are showing exactly what to do with that illogical team selection & justifiably are handing out a beating.

  • Hamish on October 31, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    But also I shouldn't forget to say it as a Vics fan, well done Ahmed. Didn't get to watch his wickets (I think it was at this stage where Lynn was smashing Rankin and Finn - it was too good not to watch) but to take 6 wickets on an MCG pitch on day 2 is unheard of. Except from one certain blonde legspinner who shall remain unnamed for the sake of unfair comparison.

    Feel sorry for Dutchy Holland who's a quality spinner and is in the A squad but can't make the Victorian team... Such is Victoria's depth... Wouldn't mind to see us play the both of them and drop Boland though

  • Mashuq on October 31, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Taking wickets against one of the weaker batting line-ups doesn't amount to much, but good luck to him. Marsh showed what may await from good players of spin like KP, but let's first see how Lyon goes before considering Fawad in the squad. Just keep doing good things in Shield and a place will likely come sooner rather than later, although I'm not writing Lyon off. Two spinners may have to be picked in Sydney - not sure.

  • Khub on October 31, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Its really nt easy 2 find another warny, who can b a regular spinner in d team. Beer, Doherty, Lyon, kreija, smith r in "in nd out" (kreija, beer mayb already out of spot) well, u can try another..

  • Scott on October 31, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    @Mitty2, I wouldn't be all that concerned about his pace at the moment. As we saw in the UK earlier in the year, he'll have a plan in place to ensure that he's fit and firing for the 1st test and he'll be building up to that. Although these are competitive matches, I certainly wouldn't like any of our bowlers over-exerting themselves. The last thing we need right now is another injured fast bowler - especially one that we know will be in the starting XI. I was disappointed with Marsh today. Although it would appear the selectors have their XI in mind - and ridiculously stated they 'know who they want at each ground' which inevitably means we'll be chopping and changing like fools again - he's been handed an opportunity to once again impress the selectors in the A side, but he needs to make big runs in shield too. With a solid start of 40, you'd hope to see these guys go on from there to triple figures. The talent is there and easy to see, he just needs to nail it. Agree, Lyon in the XI

  • Hamish on October 31, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Good from the Vics. Was disappointing to see WA - who are probably the worst side in the Shield - get to that total but great from Ahmed to reel them in single handedly. Watched a bit of the day when WA were starting and Siddle bowled really well - was pretty unlucky to not be rewarded in that spell. Constant bouncers, beat the bat a lot and had numerous close LBW appeals. Just not sure about his pace atm

    Great to see Ahmed take wickets but if this causes the selectors to drop Lyon again i'll be furious. Gained plenty of plaundits in Eng for his tighter bowling whilst at the same time being aggressive, and it was great to see him come back against KP so well. He's high on confidence and is developing really well, if Ahmed takes his spot it'll kill him. Ahmed should be in the squad but nothing more - if in the unlikely situation Lyon fails then maybe he can be included.

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