21-year-old Victoria opener bats all day without reaching fifty in epic Sheffield Shield final blockathon
21-year-old Victoria opener Ashley Chandrasinghe embarked on an epic blockathon on day one of the Sheffield Shield final, as he batted through the entire first day to finish unbeaten on 46.
The innings took in 266 balls but saw him hit just four boundaries, as Victoria were reduced to 194-8 at the close after no other batter passed 40.
It came amid a disciplined bowling performance from Western Australia that saw Joel Paris, Aaron Hardie and Test hopeful Lance Morris take two wickets each.
Chandrasinghe will resume alongside Australia Test spinner Todd Murphy, who was left unbeaten without scoring overnight following Fergus O’Neill’s dismissal in the penultimate over of the day.
The opener was not expected to start the final after a lean run of form that had seen him score just 25 runs in five innings, but was promoted from his usual No.3 to open the batting following an injury to Travis Dean.
He began the season with an unbeaten 119 on first-class debut against Tasmania, another innings where he showed a penchant for long stays at the crease as he faced 333 balls for the ton, but has since passed fifty just once in 13 averages and seen his average drop to 20. Before the game, Chandrasinghe’s first-class strike rate stood at 27.15.
Victoria captain Peter Handscomb was full of praise for the opener’s performance on the back of his recent struggles, as he said after the day’s play: “Ash was out and then back in. Credit to him to be able to put that behind him and bat all day.
“To be able to carry his bat through the day in challenging conditions was very impressive.”
Former Australia Test opener Chris Rogers has also been gushing in his praise for Chandrasinghe, as he told ESPNcricinfo his debut ton was “incredible” and compared him to Cheteshwar Pujara for his “efficient” tecnhique and mentality to bat long.
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WA's quicks gained the ascendency despite Victorian opener Ashley Chandrasinghe's 266-ball vigil!
Catch up on day one of the #SheffieldShield final with our rapid #ShieldInSixty recap 🙌 pic.twitter.com/z2O9hvF21F
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 23, 2023