Sheffield Shield final: Ashley Chandrasinghe grinds WA with his unbeaten 46-run knock on Day 1

Victoria were 194/8 against Western Australia at stumps on Day 1 of the Sheffield Shield final.

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Ashley Chandrasinghe and Peter Handscomb
Ashley Chandrasinghe and Peter Handscomb. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Victoria's promoted opener, Ashley Chandrasinghe, scored an unbeaten 46 runs off 266 balls against Western Australia on Day one of the Sheffield Shield final, at the WACA Ground. Western Australia’s pace attack ripped through Victoria’s top and middle order as the Peter Handscomb-led side finished the day with 194/8 on the board. Joel Paris, Lance Morris, and Aaron Hardie scalped two wickets each while Matthew Kelly and Corey Rocchiccioli picked one wicket each.

It is understood that the 21-year-old batter was set to be dropped from the playing XI, having scored just 25 runs in his last five innings. Also, skipper Handscomb returned to the squad and he needed to be included in the playing XI. However, after the veteran opener, Travis Dean, suffered an injury while training on Wednesday, Chandrasinghe was promoted as an opener instead of his usual no 3 batting position.

"Ash was out and then back in. Credit to be able to put that behind him and bat all day. To be able to carry his bat through the day in challenging conditions...was very impressive,” Handscomb was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.

Chandrasinghe almost got dropped from the Victoria squad before the Sheffield Shield final

Ashley Chandrasinghe held the fort for his side throughout the day as the batter showed nerves of steel in warm conditions on a tricky pitch, as he scored just five runs off 74 balls during the second session. Consequently, Chandrasinghe has given Victoria a chance to march towards a reasonable score in their first innings. Notably, Victoria fell short in last year's drawn final against WA and haven't yet received a bonus point which is awarded for every run over 200 in the first 100 overs. However, WA has 0.8 bonus points having taken eight wickets so far.

"I don't think we worry about bonus points at this stage. We just go out there and focus on just trying to get ourselves into as best position as possible to win this game," Handscomb stated.

Chandrasinghe will start Day 2 alongside Todd Murphy (0* off 2). Murphy was returned to the squad following his brilliant performance against India in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The 22-year-old bowler scalped 14 wickets in four Tests in India which was also his maiden Test series.

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