Cameron Bancroft made a positive statement on his return to first-class cricket following his nine-month ban received for his involvement in Australia’s infamous Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
The 26-year-old opening batsman marked his first-class return with an unbeaten 73 for his Western Australia side on day one of their Sheffield Shield encounter against New South Wales in Sydney. He was involved in a well-crafted 119-run partnership for the first wicket before proceedings soon turned south for the visiting team.
Bancroft has had to fight off plenty of criticism from ex-Australian players including Ricky Ponting, Mike Waugh and Michael Slater following his explosive interview with Adam Gilchrist on the day his ban was served. The right-hander responded well on his first-class return after having struggled during his Big Bash League stint where Perth Scorchers ended bottom of the table.
The visitors slumped to 183-5 after their blistering start but Bancroft held firm on the other end of a disastrous batting collapse. Bancroft hadn’t featured in his team’s first half of the season when Western Australia ran through six different opening combinations in their seven games before setting on the combination of Bancroft and Sam Whiteman (66 off 148 balls, 7×4, 1×6).
The returning opener bagged a patient 73 runs off 235 balls that included four boundaries and one six as the discredited cricketer looked to win back the trust of the Australian public.
Cameron Bancroft, playing his first first-class match since the Newlands Test, has helped Western Australia to a century opening stand against NSW
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) February 23, 2019
New South Wales will resume on Sunday with Bancroft (73) and Bradley Hope (8) at the crease hoping to post a competitive total in Western Australia’s first innings.