Following hard upon the heels of Darren Lehmann's announcement of his retirement from top cricket, the principal interest in the one day match between South Australia and Western Australia was likely be on the great man. And he didn't disappoint, producing a magnificent 126no/104b in an unbroken 236 partnership with Matthew Elliott 133no/137b to overhaul WA's formidable 6/305 with...wait for it... 18 balls to spare.
What a game.
The Warriors batted first and got off to a cracking start, despite losing Justin Langer cheaply. Luke Ronchi (the next Adam Gilchrist?) smote 69 from 58b and with Sean Ervine took the score to 104 from 100b, in the process testing both the bowling and ground fielding. When after 30 overs the Warriors had built the solid platform of 3/182, bearing in mind the rule of thumb of doubling the score in the last 20 overs, a huge score seemed likely. But it didn't quite work that way: Ervine stayed and scored, but others came and went: one, Mark Johnston, forced to retire hurt when his jaw was broken by a return from the field.
A final score of 6/305 looked sufficient, especially given the brittleness of the Redbacks batting, but to my spectator's eyes 19 from the last 4 overs was less than I expected, especially as the 4 overs before that had yielded 38.
Ervine finished with an impressive 134 no /129b: an innings of such class as to merit much media attention. Yet it wasn't to be as the Redbacks overcame early losses, Callum Ferguson brilliantly caught at fine leg by the otherwise hapless (see his bowling analysis) Shawn Gillies and a less than sprightly Mark Cosgrove run out, before the two former internationals came together.
They built their partnership by taking their time (relatively speaking) before hitting out when the Warriors attack, which included Brad Hogg, who looked ordinary if no worse than his team mates, wilted before the onslaught.
I was impressed with Boof's fitness: the weather was much cooler than the preceding week or so's run of 30 degree plus days, but I only noticed one Arjuna Ranatunga moment (ie walking an easy single), and that was in the middle of his innings.
Two magnificent innings - actually three, since Ervine deserves some sympathy, as he has twice now in a 50 overs game at Adelaide Oval made a century and been on the losing side. The other occasion? See here