Panthers downed by impressive Swans

Dandenong champion Brett Forsyth struck his 8000th Premier Cricket run on Saturday. 225296 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Nick Creely

What an impressive showing from Casey-South Melbourne.

From a strong bowling display led brilliantly by an array of spinners, to a customary flashy display from a highly-anticipated debutant and classy hands from the club’s youth and leaders, it was a performance worth sitting up and taking notice of.

And Michael Wallace’s side is well and truly in the hunt, now sitting just ninth on the table

The Swans moved to a 3-2 record after a comprehensive win against Dandenong, and from the outset it was obvious that the home side were switched on and searching for a statement win to bring in the New Year.

Welcoming in two debutants – one who needs no introduction, a man with over 15,000 international runs for Sri Lankan in Tillakaratne Dilshan and emerging teenager Harrish Kannan – the Panthers were sent in to bat at Casey Fields.

Dilshan – who was a more than handy offie during his international career – opened the bowling with left-arm quick Jackson Fry, and despite not jagging a wicket early, applied terrific pressure as the Panthers looked to get off to a brisk start.

He finished with tidy figures of 0/32 from 10 overs and proved to be a hard obstacle to get away.

Fry (2/43)– who was bowling sharply – trapped Panthers champion Tom Donnell in front to register the game’s first wicket, and from there the visitors struggled to settle.

Brilliant spells by left-arm spinners Ash Adihetty (1/25) and Lachie Sperling (3/29) saw the home side make significant in-roads, in particular in snaring champion batsman Brett Forsyth (30) who was beginning to loom large as he also crossed past 8,000 Premier Cricket runs on the day.

At 5/94, ex-Swan Aaron Fernando and Comrey Edgeworth (35) weathered the storm and eventually began ticking the scoreboard over, with Fernando striking a classy 56 not out to help guide the visitors to a competitive 6/182.

But all-in-all the Swans bowled with terrific discipline with only two quicks and four spinners in the line-up.

It then became the Tillakaratne Dilshan show, with the champion Sri Lankan star striding to the middle with emerging star Ash Chandrasinghe, in what would have been a thrill for the emerging young opener to bat with a great of the game.

The sheer class and power of Dilshan was obvious when he immediately got himself off the mark on his first ball, and cracked six fours and a six, including his famous ‘Dilscoop’ amidst some brutal strokeplay as young Chandrasinghe remained solid on the other end to frustrate the visitors.

The pair racked up 77 for the first wicket before young quick Braeden Taeuber picked up a memorable wicket in Dilshan, caught on the boundary.

But it was a memorable debut for the flashy right-hander, finishing with 53 off just the 42 balls.

While Chandrasinghe eventually fell for 33, skipper Michael Wallace and the experienced Jordan Wyatt consolidated the innings, with Wallace in particular looking in complete control and playing some crisp shots to race away.

The stylish left-hander crunched a run-a-ball half-century as the Swans ran away with an eight-wicket win, finishing 63 not out off 60 balls, and capped the win with a boundary. Right-hander Jordan Wyatt also found some runs, blasting 31 not out off 25 balls in his 78-run stand with his captain.

It was largely a tough outing for the Panthers, but James Nanopoulos toiled hard to take 1/42 off eight overs.

The Panthers will look to bounce back against Ringwood at Shepley Oval on Saturday, while the Swans travel to take on Melbourne Uni.

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