Hazlewood, Henriques stun Warriors
Western Australia 4 for 15 (Hazlewood 3-13) trail New South Wales 447 (Henriques 140, Behrendorff 4-95) by 432 runs
Josh Hazlewood shattered Western Australia's top order in an extraordinary burst late on day two of the Sheffield Shield final, after Moises Henriques had extracted the very most out of himself and the New South Wales tail to guide them to a commanding first innings total of 447 at Manuka Oval.
From the depths of 6 for 189 on day one, Henriques lifted the Blues to 447 and sapped the energy of a young WA side. Fatigue of mind and body was evident in the nine overs they had left to bat, as Hazlewood capitalised on the leaden feet of Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris with the first two balls of the innings.
In his next over, Adam Voges edged to the slips, before the player of the season Marcus North was run out by none other than Hazlewood from mid-off, as a nervy Shaun Marsh tried to steal a single. The Warriors closed on 4 for 15, a position from which only the most optimistic of followers will give them a chance of engineering the victory they require to claim a first Shield title since 1999.
Henriques had created a stir when he declared this Sheffield Shield final to be the most important match of his career to date, more so even than his three Test matches in India last year. It is now clear he meant every word, shepherding his side to a tally they could not have imagined on the first evening with batting of tremendous assurance, awareness and determination.
Five weeks spent in South Africa with only one Twenty20 appearance to show for it no doubt added to Henriques' resolve to make the most of his chance, registering only his third first-class hundred but by a distance the most significant. He had help from a trio of doughty lower order partners, Steve O'Keefe, Trent Copeland and Nathan Lyon hanging round for stands of 90, 66 and 95 respectively. The union with Lyon was particularly disheartening for WA, stretching deep into the final session and setting a new ninth-wicket record for any Shield final.
It ended only when Henriques top edged Ryan Duffield with the third new ball. Hazlewood followed soon after, but raced from the field in preparation for the sort of brief spell loved by pacemen and loathed by batsmen. NSW had still greater reason to anticipate it, having rumbled out WA for 82 in their first innings on this ground a week ago.
The vulnerability of the Warriors' top order had tempted the state selectors to call-up the prolific grade batsman Alex Malcolm for a state debut in this, before deciding against the introduction of a new man in such pressured circumstances. Instead, Bancroft and Harris were asked to improve upon their slim returns thus far, but neither would do so.
Hazlewood is known generally for his height and bounce, but like Glenn McGrath once did he can prosper with a hint of away swing in his first over or two. This time his sights were perfectly calibrated, a full delivery tempting Bancroft into a push that drew a blur of bat, edge and ground, a concerted appeal and the raised finger of the umpire Simon Fry.
Next ball Harris was pinned in front of middle by a delivery that was fast, full and straightening down the line, Fry pausing for a moment before once again sending the batsman on his way. While Voges evaded the rarest of hat-tricks, he could not resist flirting with a Hazlewood delivery the next over that he might have left alone, Ryan Carters taking a sharp chance at third slip.
Three ducks in his past four innings had Marsh understandably eager to elude another, but his attempted single to mid-off was too narrowly judged, and Hazlewood completed his passage of excellence by throwing down the stumps. North walked off in a daze, as did WA when stumps were called. Together, Henriques and Hazlewood had routed them.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here