By Andrew Wu – Sydney Morning Herald
Moises Henriques has been the Everywhere Man, Nearly Man and Nowhere Man rolled into one this season but on Sunday he unleashed two months of pent-up rage against South Australia by blasting a brilliant century.
Henriques’ 127, his second first-class ton, along with an equally fluent 97 from Ben Rohrer placed NSW, who were all out for 373 with the last ball of the day, in a strong position in their Shield game against the Redbacks at the SCG.
The Blues, surprisingly sent in by SA, were denied a total in excess of 400 after losing their last six wickets for 53, but their quick scoring has set up the possibility for an outright victory if their bowlers can deliver on the second day.
After nine weeks in which the cricket gods have conspired against him, Henriques made the Redbacks pay with a sublime performance. Coming off a career-best Shield season, Henriques has been dealt a mixed bag this summer.
He collected plenty of frequent-flyer points travelling around India during the month-long tour with the national limited-overs side but, apart from one Twenty20 game, was not used by selectors, who preferred Tasmanian all-rounder James Faulkner.
Upon returning home he was named captain of Australia A, a sign he was still in the minds of selectors, but led a side that spent a day fetching the ball for Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry in Hobart. Respite only came when rain washed out much of the next three days. A return to his beloved baggy blue also brought unremarkable returns – three wickets in two games and four scores of 30 or less with the bat – and worse was to follow in the form of a groin strain, which sidelined him last week.
But he appears to have come back from injury in great touch, returning to the sort of form that yielded a Test debut this year.
Henriques’ innings was a combination of brutal power and high-class batsmanship. A highlight was his driving, often splitting the two covers placed by the Redbacks, to find the rope. So easy did he make batting appear, it was hard to believe the Blues had been teetering when he arrived at the crease shortly before lunch with the score on 3-84.
The Redbacks’ attack had its tail up after former Blue Joe Mennie – SA’s best bowler with 4-60 – removed Scott Henry and Nic Maddinson in quick succession before lunch and asked plenty of questions of Rohrer and Henriques in the hour after the break.
”It didn’t feel all that easy when they put the ball in the right areas. It was still jagging a little bit,” Henriques said. The pair survived incisive spells from Mennie and Chadd Sayers to put on an entertaining 187-run stand.