ST Kilda is deep in trouble after the first day of the Premier Cricket match against Prahran, in large part as a result of losing the toss.
Winning the toss can be crucial in the early weeks of the season, as green wickets with plenty of moisture can be a bowlers’ dream.
And so it proved at Toorak Park on Saturday, when Prahran skipper Sam Coates won the toss and gladly sent St Kilda in.
Just 34.2 overs later, the Saints were all out for 84 and by stumps Prahran had built a lead of 83.
Prahran bowler Rhys Adams was exceptional, taking 4/19 from 14 overs with eight maidens, and he was ably backed up by Steven Singh (3/28 off 10), Bryce McGain (2/12 off 3.2) and Leigh Alford (1/13 off four).
It would have been uglier for the Saints but for double-figure scores by the batsmen at eight, nine and 10 – the Saints were 7/42 when they lost captain Graeme Rummans.
Top-scorer James Muirhead contributed almost a quarter of the total with his innings of 20.
When Prahran batted, the home side passed St Kilda’s total with three wickets down to secure a first-innings victory as the bowlers struggled for line and length.
Jack Taylor fell just one run short of a deserved half-century, while opener Daniel Salpietro made an important 34. Singh entertained with some lower-order hitting, lofting huge sixes over long-on and deep mid-wicket, before he was bowled by Daniel Mueller, St Kilda’s best bowler with 4/47.
The True Blues finished the day on 8/167, and Coates hinted at an immediate declaration on day two if the pitch again looks promising for bowlers.
“We’ll see what the pitch looks like on Saturday morning and go from there,’’ he said.
“It was a good toss to win and the bowling was excellent. The conditions were bowler-conducive but we still had to get through them.
“We probably missed a little opportunity with the bat to put the foot on the throat but you’ll take it every day of the week.”
Saints captain Rummans said it would be tough for his side to salvage anything from the game.
“When we get another chance to bat, hopefully we show more concentration,” he said.
“It was a bad toss to lose. The wicket had a bit in it but it wasn’t an all-out-for-80 wicket. We played some poor shots.
“There was a lot of moisture and uneven bounce, a fair bit of movement, but you have to learn to adapt to those conditions and we didn’t.
“It flattened out a little bit (when Prahran batted) but there was still a bit there for us. But we weren’t able to bowl six good balls an over.”