19/04/2024

Tasmania's Lawrence Neil-Smith was dominant with the ball at the WACA against Western Australia on day 1 - Photo: Tasmanian Tigers/Twitter

Lawrence Neil-Smith collected his maiden five wicket haul on day one of Tasmania's Sheffield Shield and got to do it on the ground he debuted on as a cricketer.

In a sensational display of pace bowling, Lawrence Neil-Smith collected his maiden five wicket haul on day one of Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia on Sunday.

A ‘Mr. Everywhere’ of sorts to start the season, the 22 year old proved his worth as a bowler with an impressive 5/43 (16.1 overs), following an innings of 71* (201) as night watchman in the Tigers’ Shield opener against Queensland.

Particularly encouraging for the young quick was the ability to cash in on the movement available from a green WACA wicket.

After being sent in to bat on the bowler friendly pitch, Western Australia had to be content with a first innings score of 238. Despite the best efforts of wicket keeper Josh Philippe (60 from 143) and tail enders Joel Paris (19 from 38) and Jhye Richardson (34 from 49), the home side were confined to the modest total.

With only five overs of play remaining, Tasmania’s hopes of getting through the day unscathed were dashed when opener Tim Ward fell for a duck in the second over. Backing up his efforts with the ball, Neil-Smith (2* from 8) was again sent in to raise the defences and ensure that another wicket did not fall.

He will return to the crease on day two with the Tigers at 1/8, alongside Caleb Jewell (6* from 17).

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Speaking to the media at stumps, Neil-Smith could not contain his excitement over his bowling efforts. The five wicket haul was made all the more sentimental by the fondness he has for the ground itself.

“It was really exciting. I made my debut at this ground as well, so it already held a pretty special place in my heart and now this makes it a little more special,” he said.

“To see smiles on all the boys faces made it pretty worth while.

“It’s been a long pre-season so to put some performances on the board is really exciting.”

Not one to take all of the credit, the former New South Welshman was complimentary of the side’s bowling unit. Working alongside experienced campaigners Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird has been incredibly beneficial in Neil-Smith’s mind.

“I’ve been lucky to sort of be under the tutelage of Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird for a few years now,” he said.

“I’m probably a more similar bowler to Jackson in the way we’re built. We’re tall out-swingers.

“‘Sidds’ is really good with his technical work and ball positioning, things like that. I’ve picked his brain on topics like that.

“They’re some wise guys.”

Heading into day two, Tasmania recognise its impressive bowling effort will have to be backed up with a dogged effort with willow in hand.

With the game in the balance, the Tigers will have to negate the bowler friendly conditions to take control of the contest.

“I think both teams are probably pretty happy with it (day one), especially for them to have us one down overnight,” Neil-Smith concluded.

“It looked like a bowl first wicket, so we had the day we wanted.

“It’ll be a pretty good contest coming tomorrow.”

Play has resumed at the WACA Ground and can be viewed live via Kayo Sports or the Cricket Australia app.

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