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'I thought that my red-ball career had passed me by' - Turner after drought-breaking century

Right-hander shed his white-ball specialist tag with a brilliant career-best 128 to put WA on the cusp of back-to-back Sheffield Shield titles

Ashton Turner drives through the offside  •  Getty Images

Ashton Turner drives through the offside  •  Getty Images

As his first-class career stalled, unable to break back into Western Australia's powerful batting order, Ashton Turner made a conscious decision last year to focus on the shorter formats.
It seemed to be a wise move with Turner enjoying a spectacular recent BBL season, where he had a bounce back with the bat to lead Perth Scorchers' title defence.
Even though his stock has been rising in the T20 format, underlined by being bandied around as a captaincy replacement for recently retired Aaron Finch, 30-year-old Turner never wavered over his desire to again play for WA in the Sheffield Shield.
After some self-doubt during a long exile from red-ball cricket, Turner's determination and temperament manifested superbly with a drought-breaking century to lead WA's stranglehold of the Shield final over Victoria.
"Overnight the game was evenly poised. We knew the first session was going to be really important, so to be able to play a role in getting us in front of the game at stumps is very satisfying," said a typically measured Turner after day three.
"There's definitely stages where I thought that my red-ball career had passed me by. I sat and watched us win the Shield last year and couldn't poke many holes in that side."
Having only returned to the line-up last week against Victoria, after last playing in the Shield in October 2020, Turner's experience and composure was needed after WA slumped to 4 for 53 on day two in reply to 195.
In a similar vein to his repeated BBL heroics, Turner decided to counterattack on a seaming green-tinged WACA surface and motored to 28 off 20 balls.
He particularly took on short-pitched bowling from impressive young quick Mitchell Perry with muscular batting to quickly change the game's momentum.
"Often when wickets have fallen, emotions are running high," Turner said. "[I] try to play on skill and I've got a game plan...try to stick to that as much as I could.
"Obviously you need to be adaptable to the conditions, but I'm really clear how I want to bat. It's the opposition's job to try and drag me away from the game plan."
He started day three stuck on his overnight score of 49 for 40 minutes before his rhythm returned as Turner notched his fourth first-class century just before lunch.
The milestone evoked thunderous applause from his teammates and recently retired WA great Shaun Marsh to underline Turner's standing within the team's inner sanctum
"I've had periods where I haven't been scoring runs and playing well and not being picked in teams," Turner said. "In those moments, you try to go back to basics and go back to the process.
"I feel like I'm playing well and things are going my way. I try to stay as level as I can because when things aren't going well I try not to beat myself up."
After their quicks tore into Victoria's batting order late on day three, WA are on the brink of a historic treble of domestic titles for the second straight season following a period largely in the wilderness.
"As a kid growing up in Western Australia, I was probably the last generation that grew up putting red-ball cricket on a pedestal," Turner said.
"I watched many great West Australian teams but probably not produce the silverware they would have liked.
"To be part of a shifting of the culture and fortunes of WA cricket...it's a goal we've had and built towards."

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth