If it is typically difficult to follow in the footsteps of a famous father, then Jake Lehmann is proving an exception to the rule after holding South Australia’s innings together against NSW with his third Sheffield Shield century in five outings.
Lehmann, son of current Australian coach and all-time leading Shield scorer Darren Lehmann, compiled a fluent 122 and helped the Redbacks muster 298 on day one.
In reply the Blues are 1-31, with Ed Cowan the only wicket to fall (10).
After being sent into bat, SA were in danger of being bowled out for a meagre total in the maiden Shield match at Coffs Harbour as they stumbled to 5-123.
But Lehmann played with confidence from the start, and his latest ton means he now boasts an average of 56 in his first full season for the Redbacks.
Remarkably, despite the historical lack of matches at the mid north coast venue, Darren Lehmann enjoyed one-day success at here over a decade ago.
“The old man actually texted me this morning saying ‘the last time I played at Coffs Harbour I got 100’, so my reply was ‘I will get one for you if we bat’,” said Lehmann.
“And luckily enough it happened, so it’s quite funny how it played out.
“It is always good to do something for the team, and to get that 100 and keep us in the game.”
Defeat for either team is likely to end their hopes of reaching next month’s Shield final, and the match remains evenly poised after the first day with NSW set to bat last.
“If we can get a couple of early wickets tomorrow it will set us up a little,” said Lehmann. “We have two pretty handy spinners so that could leave us well placed on the final day.”
While Lehmann has played just seven first-class matches, it was also a day for debutants.
Opener Jake Weatherald scored 58, while wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey also batted confidently for his 48, with both wearing SA colours for the first time.
NSW batsman Nic Maddinson, with only four career scalps to his name, was the unlikely key wicket-taker.
Maddinson clean bowled Lehmann and claimed career-best figures of 2-10 with his slow left-arm orthodox spin.
NSW fielded 17-year-old spinner Arjun Nair for the first time and the youngster, who is the 11th youngest to debut for the Blues, collected 2-71 off 20.2 overs in a competitive showing.
“I think Arjun made an impact immediately, and it was great to see a 17-year-old kid have a great day like that,” said Blues paceman Trent Copeland.
“We bowled really well in the first session, but the wicket got better as the day went on. Overall we were happy to knock them over for under 300.”
The match was scheduled as a tribute to the late Phil Hughes, who was from nearby Macksville and represented both NSW and South Australia.