Recent Match Report – 2022/23 West Aust vs South Aust Final

Western Australia 387 for 7 (Inglis 138, Bancroft 90, Marsh 56, W Agar 2-56) South Australia 206 (Hunt 50, Smith 44, Agar 5-64) with 181 runs

Josh Inglis geared up for the India ODI tour with a blistering century as Western Australia capped off a flawless Marsh Cup season by beating South Australia in a one-sided final at the WACA.

Promoted to open after D’Arcy Short was controversially dropped in form, Inglis hit 138 off 110 balls to fuel Western Australia’s massive 387 for 7 after being sent in to bat.

It was Western Australia’s joint highest score in 50-over cricket as they took a stranglehold on a record-extending 16th league title.

South Australia took just 31.4 overs in a losing chase as WA successfully defended their title in a season where they won all eight games.

Returning from the India Test tour after being overlooked in the selection, left arm spinner Ashton Agar tied the batters on level ground with trademark accuracy. He finished with his best Marsh Cup figures of 5 for 64 in a tonic for him before returning to India.

Player-of-the-match Inglis hit his maiden List A century in style, overtaking Michael Bevan’s 135 in 2000–01 for the highest individual score in a final. He shared in a 227 second-wicket partnership with in-form Cameron Bancroft to dazzle a strong crowd of 2,700, a healthy turnout given the odd mid-week schedule.

“It was fun getting to the top, up the fields… you don’t get a chance to score hundreds when you hit five or six,” said Inglis, who revealed he knew of his height to open at a team meeting on Tuesday morning. “We’ll see if I get a chance there [India] But it’s nice to have the form to go back.”

Entering at number 4 and playing as a specialist hitter, Mitchell Marsh continued his impressive return after a three-month hiatus following ankle surgery with a 30-ball 56 in the fastest half-century in a Marsh Cup final. Following his recent ton in the Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania, Marsh hit five sixes in a demonstration of his trademark strength to level off SA’s marking attack.

Chasing their first 50-over title since 2012, a nervous South Australia were unable to take on a stacked four-player Western Australian team who will form part of the upcoming three-match ODI series in India.

It was a disappointing end for South Australia, who have improved significantly in the Marsh Cup and Sheffield Shield this season after a spell in the wilderness.

“Bitterly disappointed, obviously,” said SA coach Jason Gillespie. “We know we are much better than what we showed there. We have a lot to take with us and hopefully we will get better.”

In hot but dreary conditions, South Australian skipper Jake Lehmann decided to take up bowling and was assisted by speed demon Spencer Johnson, who has had a breakaway season in all formats. He dismissed player-of-the-tournament Josh Philippe in the first over after Nathan McAndrew took a fine running catch at the halfway point.

But South Australia’s fielding took a turn for the worse from there as Inglis was dropped by Henry Hunt on spinner Ben Manenti’s boundary at a crucial moment. Having made only 26 balls from 42 up to that point, Inglis suddenly shifted into gear and made South Australia pay with a belligerent attack as he only needed 45 more deliveries to reach his century.

Inglis mixed inventive strokes, including well-executed reverse scoops, with sweet textbook drives to demoralize South Australia, whose shoddy field effort also included Henry Thornton dropping Bancroft when he was at 51.

When a thunderstorm, rare in Perth this time of year, threatened to intervene, South Australian openers Hunt and Kelvin Smith provided the fireworks to complete a 50-run partnership within six overs. Smith was a late replacement for Jake Carder, who injured his hamstring during the warm-up.

But he fell to 44 after tamely spooning to the short midwicket as South Australia were chained by fast Andrew Tye and spinner Agar, claiming Hunt for 50 to trigger a run of wickets.

It was only a matter of time before Western Australia celebrated another triumph as the powerhouse remains on track to triple its domestic titles for the second season in a row.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist from Perth