Sheffield Shield fans were left scratching their heads after WA’s Aaron Hardie fell victim to an odd-looking LBW call in his state’s clash with Victoria.
With WA trying to bat out the day to salvage a draw, Hardie stepped out towards a delivery from Todd Murphy and did not offer a shot, the ball making contact with his pads well outside the stumps.
But after what felt like a remarkably long period the umpire decided the ball would’ve turned enough to strike the wickets and gave Hardie out.
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“Oh, he’s given him! He’s given him out! The umpire waited a long, long time, he thought about it, he looked at Murphy pleading his case and he went yes!” the commentator said.
“Not playing a shot – that kind of changed things, even though he was hit outside the line. And according to the umpire that was going to come back and hit the stumps.”
Earlier a century by Peter Handscomb nearly turned into his first-ever triple as the Victorian captain and his team piled on so many runs the prospect of more games at the Junction Oval could give bowlers nightmares.
The Victorian skipper batted all day on Wednesday and went to the lunch break on Thursday having pounded out a career-best 281 not out, which was the highest score in Sheffield Shield cricket for more than a decade.
But the selfless skipper declared during the break, denying himself a chance to reach 300, to give his team a chance at what could be an incredible victory.
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Handscomb’s nine-and-a-half-hour, 367 ball stay also included seven sixes and an amazing 322 runs in two sessions between himself and Sam Harper, who also made his second first-class century, to put Western Australia’s bowlers to the sword.
A game which looked like petering out to a draw when the Vics were 4-294 at tea on day three, still 172-runs behind WA’s first innings of 466, found life on the back of the blitz from Handscomb, who was the leading Shield run-scorer last season, and Harper, who was unbeaten on 132 when the declaration came.
The pair put on a monster 338 runs off just 74 overs to not only pass WA but push their lead to 150, at 4-616, with their lunchtime declaration setting WA 150 runs to win, off 66 overs, giving the home team some hope of bowling out the visitors to record a rare win at the venue which has proved hellish for fielding teams.
Handscomb’s score was the highest ever by a Victorian against WA, bettering the previous record of 243 set by both Dean Jones (1984-85) and Will Pucovski (2018-19).
There have only ever been 18 triple-hundreds scored in more than 130 years of Shield cricket, and none sine LIam Davis scored an unbeaten 303 for WA in Perth in 2012.