A future superstar of Australian cricket has burst into the spotlight.
West Australian teenager Teague Wyllie has become the Sheffield Shield’s youngest centurion since the legendary Ricky Ponting after a breakthrough knock against New South Wales on Tuesday.
Playing in just his third first-class match, Wyllie scored a classy 104 to help guide the Warriors to a first-innings total of 258 on a tricky WACA deck.
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The 18-year-old batting prodigy smacked 15 boundaries during the 204-ball knock, while none of his teammates passed 50 as the hosts secured a healthy first-innings lead in Perth.
The talented right-hander brought up triple figures late in the evening session by clipping Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon through fine leg, becoming Western Australia’s youngest centurion in Sheffield Shield history.
At 18 years and 163 days, only six cricketers have scored a Sheffield Shield century at a younger age than Wyllie, the most recent being Ponting at 18 years and 40 days during the 1992/93 summer.
He also becomes the first person born after 2003 to score a Sheffield Shield century, achieving the feat against a Blues bowling attack featuring four Australian representatives.
Wyllie was eventually dismissed by paceman Chris Tremain in the 102nd over, edging a full delivery to first slip.
Wyllie was comfortably Australia’s best performer at this year’s Under 19 World Cup in South Africa, accumulating 278 runs at 69.50 in six matches. He was the only Australian named in the ICC‘s most valuable team of the white-ball tournament.
Speaking to the ICC earlier this year, Wyllie compared his batting style to that of Indian cricket legend Rahul Dravid, who was renowned for his impenetrable defence.
“I‘m a very stodgy kind of opener who just tries to bat the innings,” he explained.
“I wouldn‘t say there’s one particular player that I’ve modelled my game on, but I consider myself to bat a little like Dravid. I like to bat long periods of time and not give my wicket my way.
“Another is Kane Williamson – the way he likes to manoeuvre the ball around the gaps and manipulate the field. That‘s probably another player I’d consider myself to be like.”
Wyllie made his first-class debut for Western Australia in March before featuring in last summer’s Sheffield Shield final against Victoria as a 17-year-old.
He became the second youngest cricketer to win a Sheffield Shield final, behind only Test captain Pat Cummins, helping Western Australia break a 23-year title drought.
Over the winter, Wyllie was selected by Cricket Australia to join fellow young guns Tanveer Sangha and Will Pucovski at the famed MRF Academy in India, where he honed his skills in the unique conditions of sub-continent cricket.
“He is one of the few young players that I‘ve come across in recent times that really understands the history of the game,“ Australia’s talent and pathways manager Graham Manou told cricket.com.au earlier this year.
“There‘s a lot of characteristics both technically and physically that are going to hold him in great stead. The world could be his oyster.
“He‘s got an understanding of some of the great players.
“There‘s only a few guys that I have come across that have been really aware of modelling their game on some of the great players – not just necessarily within our own four walls.
“He‘s sort of looked outside the square and Dravid is not a bad one to model your game on, is he?”
Speaking to CODE Sports last week, West Australian coach Adam Voges earmarked Wyllie as a young talent to keep an eye on this summer.
“We saw the emergence of Teague Wyllie at the back-end of last summer,” he said.
“He’s quite a big guy, he’s got a physical presence when he’s at the crease. But technically he’s really solid. He’s been an opening batter pretty much all of his career, so technically he’s sound.
“I think it’s just his genuine desire to want to bat and bat for long periods of time (that excites Voges). In today’s game, that’s not something you (see) all the time but that’s something he’s got that in spades.”
At the WACA on Tuesday, New South Wales debutant Ben Dwarshuis impressed with figures of 4/48 while fellow seamer Tremain leaked just 25 runs from his 24 overs.
West Australian bowler Matthew Kelly combined with Wyllie for a crucial 90-run partnership for the eighth wicket, finishing the day unbeaten on 47.
Day three of the Sheffield Shield contest will get underway at 1.30pm AEDT on Wednesday, with the Blues trailing by 78 runs.