Rd 2, day 1: Thorat hundred, big chases for 1s, 2s

A hundred to North Sydney Green Shield product Dhruva Thorat was the highlight of a balanced first day, as the Bears squared off against Bankstown in the first 2-day match of the summer. 1st and 2nd grade ended up bowling first on very batsman-friendly wickets and are looking at big chases, while 3s set a healthy total of 7/279 on an uneven deck at Jensen. 4s are well on top at 1/78 with Bankstown all out 136, while 5s is in the balance as Bankstown are 2/57 chasing an even 200.

1st Grade (Bankstown 7/423 dec. vs. North Sydney 0/7)

Skipper Justin Avendano made it 0/2 for tosses this season and the Bears found themselves bowling first on a very good wicket at Bankstown Oval. Bankstown came out of the blocks quite hard, and the first wicket did not fall until the Bulldogs had 96 on the board. The Bears found it hard to restrict the scoring rate on a quick outfield and hard wicket, and a hundred to Bankstown opener Daniel Solway saw the Bears staring down the barrel of a large total.

Two wickets to James Campbell and 1st grade debutant Niranjan Naguleswaran put the breaks on and Bankstown declared at 7/423, with enough time to bowl 2 overs. Ben Bryant and Anjan Oberai safely negotiated the small period and will look forward to spending some time in the middle for a big chase next weekend.

2nd Grade (North Sydney 1/47 vs. Bankstown 9/411 dec.)

After winning the toss and opting to bowl first, the Bears were hoping for some early wickets up at Bon Andrews. However some missed half-chances and a reasonably good batting wicket meant that the first wicket didn't fall until the Bulldogs had posted 163. A brilliant run out by Josh Joseph put an end to a blistering Joel Brockley innings, while Raj Premachandra picked up the dangerous Leten after he had made 140. At 3/306 it was not looking great for the Bears, but some quick wickets put a damper on the scoring rate and Bankstown declared their innings at 9/411, with Pat Lindsay finishing with 3 wickets from his 32 overs and Harjit Singh finishing with 2.

The Bears had to face 10 overs before the close of play, and while wicketkeeper Adam Docos made his way to 33 not out, unfortunately Rafay Shirazi was out for 6, leaving Adam Wigglesworth at the wicket with Docos. The Bears will look forward to a big chase next week, knowing that Bon Andrews is not an easy ground for teams defending totals, and will be boosted by the return of the in-form Tim Reynolds from the under 17s carnival.

3rd Grade (Bankstown vs. North Sydney 7/279)

Stand-in captain Rashedul Hasan wisely won the toss and elected to bat on a slightly grassy Jensen Park wicket. The uneven bounce meant that the wicket wasn't quite the batting paradise it is renown as, though a quick outfield meant that it was still a good place to bat. The Bears were watchful early, and made it to tea for the loss of two wickets. Several quick wickets after tea threatened to halt the momentum, but youngster Dhruva Thorat stood firm, ably assisted by Michael Oliver (22), Jack Thomas (25) and Ali Shaikh (33*).

Dhruva accelerated as he got more comfortable and brought up his hundred not long before the close of play. He was proactive against the spinners, ruthless against the quicks and finished on 110* - a great reward for a fine young player with a great attitude and work ethic. The Bears will hope to defend their total next week to get themselves into the winners circle for the first time this season.

4th Grade (Bankstown 136 vs. North Sydney 1/78)

Bankstown skipper Matt Kelly won the toss and elected to bat at Tunks International Sportspark, and the Bulldogs found themselves in early trouble with Tom Strangward following up last week's threefa with the wicket of the skipper with only 2 runs on the board. After missing the first round, Mano Mahadevan found his regular line and length and he and Rob Lavery dismantled the Bankstown middle order, with the help of a run out to Green Shield player Pat Gall. Wickets to spinners Shirazi and Havele had the Bulldogs at 7/86. A rearguard scramble saw Bankstown find their way to 7/131, before the tail was finished and Bankstown were dismissed for 136. Mano Mahadevan finished with 4/38, while Tom Strangward took 2/9 off his 11 overs.

With 20 overs left to bat, the Bears openers played very positively. Mo Singh was dismissed for 36 with the score on 62, and Grant Jansson finished on 37*, with North Sydney well-poised at 1/78. Hopefully the Bears can finish the job next week and see what Tunks has in store.

5th Grade (Bankstown 2/57 vs. North Sydney 200)

The Bears won the toss and elected to bat at Grahame Thomas, and regular early wickets saw them slump to 4/43. 32 to Muneeb Shirazi took the score to 5/97, when young Green Shield player Aidan Thomas joined skipper Keith Lawrence at the wicket. The pair batted very well, taking the score to 6/173 before Keith was dismissed for a well-made 68. The last four wickets fell rather quickly and the Bears finished on an even 200, Thomas eventually dismissed for a handy 34.

A first over wicket to Anim Huq was followed by a wicket on grade debut to Daniel Mooney, and Bankstown were reeling at 2/9. A solid partnership followed and Bankstown saw out the day at 2/57. Early wickets next week will be vital as the Bears look to defend their total.