Facing a total over 500, the home side’s chances rest on a extraordinary set of circumstances over the next two days
Western Australia 0 for 46 trail Tasmania 514 (Webster 135*, Doran 123, Wade 90, Bird 64) by 468 runs
Western Australia’s hopes of making the Sheffield Shield final appeared to have all-but ended on a dispiriting second day against Tasmania as centuries from Jake Doran and Beau Webster piled up a huge total at the WACA.
Doran was the star of the initial part of the day with a career-best, but it was the stand of 125 between Webster and Jackson Bird for the ninth wicket that really broke the home side after they’d had a chance of keeping Tasmania to around 400 (although Western Australia had opted to bowl) that would have at least provided a realistic chance of competing.
Instead, after finally ending a back-breaking 160 overs in the field – for much of the time being without the injured Joel Paris while Matt Kelly also looked to be struggling – their only chance appeared to be getting past the follow-on as quickly as possible (and that requires them to score 365) then either managing to skittle Tasmania in the second innings or hoping they would be agreeable to a final-day run chase.
Either of those scenarios were a long way off at stumps although Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman had been able to get through 19 overs unscathed. With a batting line-up that also features Shaun Marsh, Cameron Green, Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis they at least have the pedigree to score big and at a decent rate.
A long day began with Matthew Wade in sight of a hundred but he fell shortly before the new ball was due when he edged behind off Ashton Agar then Tim Paine could not believe it when he was given caught down the leg side which left Tasmania 5 for 253.
Doran went to 98 with a six off Agar and two balls later brought up his second century of the season from 239 balls. He was finally removed after 288 deliveries when he edged Lance Morris from round the wicket.
Jarrod Freeman collected his third duck in three innings and after a frustrating stand of 52, Lawrence Neil-Smith fended to gully to give Mitchell Marsh his first wicket – but if Western Australia thought they would soon be off the field, they were in for a shock.
Webster played superbly to make his sixth first-class hundred from 130 balls but it was Bird who dominated much of the ninth-wicket stand as he registered a career-best for the second match in a row.
When the weary home attack could finally walk off the field it was clear that barring an extraordinary set of circumstances their hopes of a first Sheffield Shield title since 1998-99 would have to wait another season.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo