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Firsts' batting test beckons

Posted: 23-Feb-2015 by Cricket Senior

Firsts' batting test beckons

AFTER sinking to undesirable lows in the previous two of its matches, Maccabi AJAX First XI have battled manfully on the opening day of their Two Day match against ladder leaders Burnley, restricting them to 8/239 at the innings closure.

The real accomplishment that the club and its supporters are waiting so desperately to see, is a competitive showing with the bat. The First XI have only managed one score over 80 in its last four matches.

A hefty amount of experience and talent wasn’t available for this game, prompting wholesale changes to the team that presented opportunities to the next crop of the club’s exciting youth.

19-year old batsman Steven Lustig’s consistent run of form in the Seconds was rewarded with a First XI debut.

On an uncomfortably humid morning, home side Burnley sent Maccabi AJAX into field.

A tidy start eventually brought about the first wicket just over an hour into play, courtesy of a diving effort from Nochum Paltiel in the gully.

Zev Aron completed a successful first spell, and in a ploy not used this season, skipper Josh Sacks opted for spin from both ends.

Proving a masterstroke, Simon Fisher removed Burnley’s 14/15 leading run scorer for just seven with a superb delivery that jagged back and clipped off stump.

Sacks’ spin tactics couldn’t have been going to plan better after his first delivery was adjudged LBW, leaving Burnley unsteady on 3/84 after 33 overs approaching the tea break.

Post tea a 56-run middle order partnership frustrated the bowling side, before Sacks struck again in unlikely fashion, drawing an edge that ricocheted off the keeper’s glove and fell safely to the man at first slip.

Yet another partnership mounted and threatened to lift the projected target well past 250. Swing bowler Dov Paltiel got just reward for his tiring efforts, the prized wicket of Burnely great Martin Blackey for 41.

An over before the final drinks break proved an eventful one as a brilliant run out from Eli Adelist exposed the hosts’ lower order with ten overs to play.

Paltiel claimed his second wicket after the short break, finishing with economical figures of 17 overs four maidens 2/41. Sacks also proved his worth with ball in hand, demanding an all-rounder status with 15 overs 2/37.

Aron took the final wicket before the end of innings, leaving his days’ work at 2/30 and Burnley’s on an imposing 8/239.

The First XI failed to claim consecutive wickets, thus never looking like taking the upper hand.

 Competing against the benchmark of the competition and most destructive bowling attack will prove a mighty task. Only once this season have the Ones posted a total over 200 and it was in a losing effort.

Meanwhile, the Second XI hung onto second place despite showing poor form in their 41-run defeat at the hands of rivals Bentleigh, who are the only team that can dislodge the Twos from their spot in the finals.

The Seconds led by Zack Garkawe (2/21) bowled tightly to restrict the visitors to 5/123 off their 45 overs, however the club’s batting woes seeped into the Twos’ effort, dismissed for just 82.

The First XI’s run chase against Burnley commences on Sunday March 1, 1pm at Loughnan Oval, Burnley.

Aaron Fetter

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