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New signing Cooper on song for South Australia

CoopsNew signing Tom Cooper gave Somerset fans an exciting glimpse of his talents this week, scoring a defiant century to rescue his South Australian side after a calamitous first innings collapse.

South Australia were reduced to 2-3 shortly after lunch on day two of their Sheffield Shield game against Tasmania at Adelaide, with the top three all back in the pavilion without scoring.

Coming in at number four, Cooper forged an 87-run partnership in 31.4 overs with his skipper Travis Head in an attempt to rebuild the hosts’ innings.

But when Head was caught behind for exactly 50, South Australia quickly lost a further wicket to stumble to 102-5, still 262 runs behind Tasmania’s first innings total of 364.

Cooper dug in again, this time with wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman and the pair put on 86 in 35.3 overs, Cooper reaching his sixth first-class century in the process.

Eventually after facing 212 balls and hitting 13 boundaries, Cooper was trapped lbw by Evan Gulbis early on day three for 104. Ludeman fell shortly afterwards for a stubborn 29 from 150 balls, leaving South Australia still some way behind the visitors on 199-6.

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However a near run-a-ball half-century from tailender Joe Mennie helped take his side to 295 by the time they were eventually dismissed. The deficit of 69 on first innings was considerably less than South Australia had looked like facing in the early stages of their innings.

In their second innings, Tasmania reached 131-3 by the close of play on day three, a lead of exactly 200 with seven wickets in hand. An intriguing final day lay in store.

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Cooper’s century comes on the back of an innings of 83 against Western Australia last week.

Speaking at the end of day two (when Cooper was unbeaten on 89), South Australia coach Jeff Vaughn said the new Somerset signing had worked hard since the new year and had been rewarded for his efforts.

“Tom has certainly been really disciplined the way he’s gone about it this afternoon as well,” Vaughn told the Cricket Australia website. “He’s certainly worked his backside off in the last six weeks.

“I’ve probably been most impressed today with his discipline and desire and want to bat for a long period of time.”

That verdict will be music to the ears of Somerset fans concerned about losing the experience of Nick Compton, Alviro Petersen and Craig Kieswetter this season. We look forward to welcoming Tom to Taunton in April and wish him well in extending his century tally still further while wearing the Wyvern.

Sheffield Shield, South Australia v Tasmania at Adelaide, Feb 24-27, 2015: http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-domestic-2014-15/engine/match/754925.html

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