Lloyd Pope became the first leg-spinner in 50 years to take a five-wicket haul on the opening day of a Sheffield Shield season on Saturday.
The flame-haired Pope did his best to take the fire out of the opposition’s first innings as Western Australia maintained the advantage over South Australia after day one of their clash.
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Pope (5-94) was occasionally expensive and often entertaining - but ultimately the only wicket taker as WA compiled a more than useful 5-310 season starter.
His five-wicket haul made Pope the first leggie since NSW’s John Gleeson to achieve the feat on the opening day of a new season.
Gleeson took a five-for on the first day of the 1970-71 summer against Queensland.
A century stand by ex-Test opener Bancroft (46) and Whiteman (65) saw WA in charge early before Pope began to count his blessings.
In a superb finish to the first session, he bowled Bancroft with his wrong’un before having Whiteman caught at legslip by Travis Head in the space of five balls.
Shaun Marsh (31) and Cameron Green (56) threatened to take the game away from the home side, batting through the second session.
But Pope was quickly back in the thick of things after tea as Marsh, Green and Ashton Turner (4) were all removed with the addition of just 28 runs.
“I didn't feel like I was bowling too badly, they just played some good cricket shots on a wicket that wasn't doing a whole lot,” Pope said of his initial spell where he was going for more than seven runs an over.
“I tried to put the figures out of my mind and kept just trying to bowl good balls.”
Agar and Inglis notch centuries for WA
At 5-215, last year’s competition wooden spooners had things back in the balance but a lack of support for Pope proved costly as the increasingly confident Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis took WA past 300.
Agar and Inglis both brought up centuries as WA then went past 400 on Sunday.
Wes Agar took some occasional stick from his older brother while Chadd Sayers and Nick Winter were economical enough without being particularly threatening.
After a disappointing 2019-20 season SA will look to take advantage of the first four rounds of the competition being played in Adelaide because of COVID-19 biosecurity measures.
“The team discussion was that (the match) was pretty even. It's a lightning-fast outfield and pretty flat in places,” Pope said.
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