Stumps Western Australia 337 and 2 for 148 (Shaun Marsh 74*, Mitchell Marsh 51*) lead Tasmania 397 (Paine 121, Jewell 52, Richardson 3-58) by 88 runs

Tim Paine‘s century, only his second in his 125th first-class appearance, helped Tasmania edge ahead of Western Australia in the first-innings exchanges across at WACA, as they finished on 397 in response to the home side’s 337. By close of play on the third day, though, the Marsh brothers Shaun and Mitchell had both hit half-centuries to put their team 88 runs in front.

The day began with Paine and Caleb Jewell in the middle and Tasmania 5 for 217, still 120 runs adrift. The two of them stretched their partnership to 80 runs, Jewell hitting his maiden fifty at this level along the way, to keep them in the race but when Joel Paris sent back Jewell for 52, they were still well in arrears at 6 for 256.

Paine was in his stride by then, but lost Sam Rainbird and Jackson Bird cheaply, and it took debutant Lawrence Neil-Smith‘s solid, and obdurate, support for Paine to not only get to his own landmark but also haul Tasmania in front. The two of them held firm for almost 37 overs, adding 111 runs together, before Paine fell miscuing a pull off Jhye Richardson. Paine made 121, scored off 208 balls with 13 fours and a six.

Australia’s Test captain had last made it to three-digits in a first-class match back in October 2006, when he was just 21, and it was an innings that promised big things as he went on to hit 215 in what was his fifth first-class outing, also at the WACA. It has taken him almost 13 years and 120 matches to get there again. Interestingly, Justin Langer, coach and confidante to Paine in the senior Australia men’s team now, was opening the batting for Western Australia in that match.

No.11 Riley Meredith hung around for 23 balls but scored not a run before Ashton Agar accounted for him, leaving Neil-Smith unbeaten on 39, scored over 150 balls. That made it an excellent debut for the 20-year-old, who had returns of 3 for 81 in the first Western Australia innings.

He was back trapping Sam Whiteman lbw for 16, after Bird had jolted Western Australia with a first-ball strike to dismiss Cameron Bancroft, caught by George Bailey, to leave the scoreboard at 2 for 36 after 15 overs.

But Shaun Marsh and captain Mitchell Marsh, Nos. 3 and 4 respectively, then proceeded to add 112 runs in 28 overs in their unbroken third-wicket association to open up the game again. Both of them scored at a healthy clip. Shaun got to his half-century first, and ended the day on 74 from 146 balls, with nine fours and a six, while Mitchell scored relatively quicker, his 51 coming from 79 balls with nine fours.



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