Redbacks eyeing redemption in Shield final
SOUTH Australia coach Jamie Siddons concedes it would be sweet to "turn the tables" on Victoria in Sheffield Shield's ultimate payback.
Victoria clinched back-to-back titles winning a 2015-16 final at Glenelg that was marred by a ball-tampering sanction for Bushrangers assistant coach Mick Lewis.
SA's obsession with breaking a two-decade Shield title drought has given way to cashing in on a second chance that's rare at the elite level.
"We have talked more about last year's final and giving ourselves another opportunity," said Siddons ahead of the Shield decider starting on Sunday in the Red Centre.
"We have a second chance getting into a final. If we keep making them we will win one. They beat us last year and it would be nice to turn the tables."
Peter Handscomb's first-innings ton and undefeated follow-up half-century, backed by left-arm spinner Jon Holland's eight-wicket match haul, consumed the Redbacks last season.
The Redbacks failed to capitalise on first-innings half-centuries to Jake Weatherald, Alex Ross and keeper Alex Carey but return a hardened unit.
"We will eventually get better at it and learnt some lessons from last year," noted Siddons of the seven-wicket final loss last year.
SA shouldn't fly blind to Traeger Park in Alice Springs, with former Redback allrounder Trent Kelly on the ground staff at the notional neutral venue.
Siddons said speedster Kane Richardson was "fully fit" after recovering from back soreness and is set to contest a bowling slot with Australian one-day leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
Richardson has 32 wickets in eight games carrying the attack with Chadd Sayers (54) this season. However, entering a five-day game without a specialist spinner would be a risk when winning is everything.
Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed was recalled to Victoria's squad after taking a five-wicket match haul against Western Australia in Alice Springs this month.
"It's a five-day game so there might be some grass on it early. It definitely spins later on so we will have to take all things into consideration," said Siddons, the last SA skipper to lift the Sheffield Shield in 1995-96.
New South Wales fell seven runs short of the victory against Western Australia it needed in Perth to reclaim second spot from the Redbacks. Siddons couldn't watch the final over, in which Blues keeper-batsman Peter Nevill fell reverse sweeping and was caught by former SA skipper Michael Klinger.
"Watching that ball-by-ball was pretty tough. Quite a few blokes walked away from it, me included, for the last five balls until we heard the celebrations," Siddons said.