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Final, Perth, March 31 - April 04, 2022, Sheffield Shield
386 & 400/7d

Match drawn

Player Of The Match
85 & 123

Western Australia break 23-year Sheffield Shield drought as final ends in a draw

Aaron Hardie finished 174 not out before the game was called off at lunch on the final day

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
WA won their first Sheffield Shield in 23 years  •  Getty Images

WA won their first Sheffield Shield in 23 years  •  Getty Images

Western Australia 386 (Bancroft 141, Whiteman 85, Sutherland 5-78) & 7 for 400 dec (Hardie 174*, Whiteman 123) drew with Victoria 306 (Handscomb 80, Perry 74, Pucovski 59, Hardie 3-54, Paris 3-95)
Western Australia claimed their first Sheffield Shield title in 23 years after a brilliant 174 not out from Aaron Hardie batted Victoria out of the match with the final called off as a draw at lunch on the final day at the WACA ground in Perth.
WA finished 7 for 400 in their second innings at lunch on the final day as the teams agreed to end the contest, with the hosts claiming the title on bonus points after outperforming Victoria in the first 100 overs of the first two innings.
Hardie made the third-highest score by a WA batter in a Shield final, but was edged out for player of the match honours by Sam Whiteman who was rewarded for his scores of 85 and 123.
It is WA's first Shield title since 1998-99, having only played in two losing finals inbetween. Head coach Adam Voges claimed the rare title treble after leading Perth Scorchers to the BBL title, and WA claiming the Marsh Cup 50-over crown and Shield title. He became just the second Australian men's domestic coach to achieve the feat after Andrew McDonald did it in 2018-19.
The final day petered out into a stalemate as WA had no intention of declaring after claiming the bonus point lead, with a draw enough to secure the title. WA took more wickets and made runs in the first 100 overs of each of the first two innings of the game to earn the right to win the title if the game ended in a draw.
They scored 77 runs in 32 overs in the morning session of day five for the loss of just one wicket. Jon Holland trapped Joel Paris plumb lbw with a yorker-length delivery in the sixth over. Two overs later, Matt Kelly chipped Holland straight to midwicket where Will Pucovski grassed a very simple catch. That was the last hope Victoria had of bowling WA out and chasing something under 450 on the final day.
Hardie continued his disciplined innings, looking more and more impenetrable as his vigil passed the six-hour mark.
He brought up his maiden first-class 150 with a lovely square drive off Mitch Perry and began picking off WA's highest ever scores in Shield finals. He launched Matt Short down the ground for his only six of the innings to go past Marcus Harris (158) and Tom Moody (162), but as lunch loomed it became clear the match was going to be called off and his chance to pass Adam Gilchrist (189) in second on the list behind Mike Veletta (262) began to fade.
Kelly defended with ease to finish 21 off 85 balls while Hardie finished on 174 not out from 317 deliveries with 25 fours and a six. Victoria's bowlers ran out of puff with Will Sutherland delivering a monumental 64.1 overs for the match to finish with six wickets, having been unfortunate not to have Hardie given lbw on 15 on the fourth afternoon.
Lunch brought emotional celebrations from WA's players and staff in the rooms with captain Shaun Marsh finally getting his hands on the Shield trophy, having debuted for WA in 2001 just two years after their last triumph in 1999.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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