Casey-South Melbourne coach Prabath Nissanka hopes the encouraging second day display against Melbourne just before Christmas will inspire his side to stay in the hunt for the rest of the Victorian Premier Cricket season.
Rolled for 112 on day one, Melbourne racked up 3/212 at stumps to inflict the Swans to a miserable day on the turf.
But a renewed mindset – along with a steely maiden century to Michael Wallace (102 not out off 239 balls) – saw the Swans score 6/240, and enter the break with a bit of encouragement that when things click, they are a tough side to face.
Nissanka is adamant his side – who just sit on the bottom ahead of Greenvale and Kingston Hawthorn on the ladder – can build off the second day performance, but conceded there is a long way to go despite winning two of its last four matches.
“I was pleased with the performance – I thought that was really the way we want to bat,” he said.
“I’m still not happy about our performances this season, but against them (Melbourne) was more how we want to play.”
Wallace’s maiden ton – which included six hours of intense concentration after opening the batting – didn’t go unnoticed by his coach, who hopes can inspire his teammates.
Possessing a wide range of strokes as well as being rock solid in defence, Wallace is starting to cash in on starts of 39, 29, 18, 33 and 48 this season.
“Wally (Michael Wallace) showed great intent to bat all day, and it was a great example of what we want to do as a batting group,” Nissanka said.
“It was great reward for him.
“But we want three or guys to perform instead of just one, and then we can get into more winnable positions.”
This Saturday looms as a winnable match for the Swans, with Prahran its first test after the break in a two-dayer at Toorak Park, a ground where the True Blues have only won one of its five games so far this season.
Nissanka said his group was excited to get stuck in to the task, and hopefully get the season back on track.
“We’re confident (against Prahran)– if we can stick to plans, we can definitely beat them – we’re looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
And the Swans could be bolstered by the return of one its prized opening batsman, Luke Manders, in the coming weeks.
The gifted batsman scored 422 runs in 12 matches in the first XI last season, including a sensational 159 against eventual premiers, Fitzroy Doncaster.
“Luke is probably something we are lacking – he has had a lot of time off, and will start in the lower grades but we hope to have him back soon – good player,” Nissanka said.
CASEY-SOUTH MELBOURNE XI
Dev Pollock (wk)
Lachie Sperling (capt)