MOUNT Waverley will look to No. 3 batsman Navin Perera to lead the side to victory in an evenly poised clash with Bayswater at Mt Waverley Reserve this Saturday.
Perera will return to the crease on 23 not out when the two teams resume play this Saturday, but four of the home side's batsmen have already been sent to the sheds. The Waters got the wickets in the final 12 overs to leave the score at 4-33 at stumps.
Mt Waverley captain Dhugal Bedingfield was disappointed with his batsmen but happy his side was chasing only 172 after the Waters were well placed with only three wickets gone at tea on the first day.
But the lost wickets left Perera and the middle and lower order plenty of work to do.
"Navin looked pretty good, didn't he," Bedingfield said.
"We played a few good cover drives. He has threatened to make a big score this year and hopefully this is the match.
"As long as we get a few good partnerships then we should be fine."
The home side's bowlers struggled to take wickets early in the match until spinner Milan Fernando (5-40) put several wickets together after tea to bowl the Waters out in 61.4 overs.
"After tea, young Milan Fernando just bowled brilliantly. He ripped through their lower order," Bedingfield said.
"Our game plan during the break was to be pretty defensive, because they had Flynn in there smashing them and Connell was on 50, so we were in a bit of trouble.
"But we went from defence to attack very well, I think. Milan got good support from Navin, who bowled tightly at the other end."
Opening bowler Ben Jackson got the first wicket for the Waters. Grey-haired veteran Darryl Stranger (2-5 from three overs) and 15-year-old left-armer Tim Sugumar (1-6 from three overs) took three scalps in the final six overs to leave their side in the match heading into the second day.
Waters captain Sean Flynn said the winner of the first hour on the second day would go a long way towards winning the match. "It's very evenly poised," he said.
"They need 134 or so and we need six wickets — the first hour will be vital."
Elsewhere, Oakleigh is well placed to beat Brunswick, bowling out the Wickers for 153, then getting to 1-53 with Brendan McGuinness on 37 not out.
Mount Waverley hosts Bayswater for the second day of the clash at Mt Waverley Reserve from 1pm this Saturday.