The penultimate round of the Sheffield Shield saw three day night matches using pink balls
Western Australia traveled to the Gabba and were on the receiving end of a Peter Forrest century and 88 to Chris Lynn that lead the Bulls to 391. The best bowling for WA was young left arm paceman Jason Behrendorf with 5/105. In reply the Warriors could only manage 175 with Queensland skipper James Hopes masterful with the ball. Opening the bowling he reduced the Warriors to 2/3 and then returned to clean up the tail on his way to taking 6/45. In their second innings Queensland declared at 3/178 with Usman Khawaja 74 not out to leave WA a victory target of 394. The Warriors never got close, skittled for 144 in their second innings thanks to 4/26 to Bulls paceman Luke Feldman and Queensland had claimed outright points. Western Australia’s batsmen did not manage a half century in either innings with the highest scores being a pair of 41s to Ashton Turner in the first innings and to Adam Voges in the second.
Victoria hosted Tasmania at the MCG an the Tigers batting first could manage only 202 after a collapse that saw them drop from 1/113 to 202 all out. REcalled leg spinner Fawad Ahmed was Victorias best bowler claiming 4/49. In reply Victoria managed a rarity, a solid start, recording an opening partnership of 60 before debutant opener Dean Russ was dismissed for 18. Opener Rob Quiney returned to form with 70 but it was the partnership of 190 between No 3 Marcus Stoinis and veteran Dave Hussey, in his 101st Shield match for Victoria, that put the Bushrangers in control. Hussey managed 88, but it was Stoinis who stole the show making his maiden first class century a big one, 170 off 274 balls with 22 fours and 3 sixes. Victoria declared at 9 for 523 but not before Ben Dunk made a rare visit to the bowling crease to claim the wicket of Michael Hill. In reply the Tigers were stuggling at 5 for 116 at the end of play on Day 3, still 205 runs behind Victoria. In a stoic rearguard action Tasmanian all rounder Luke Butterworth rescued the Tigers and secured a draw by batting throughout the final day, he started the day on 6 not out and finished on 107 not out off 314 balls, his 3rd Shield century. Butterworth was ably support by Tim Paine (44 off 158) and Xavier Doherty (20 off 139) as Tasmania lost only two wickets on the final day.
South Australia and New South Wales met at the Adelaide Oval in a game that went right down tot he wire. Batting first South Australia could only manage 280 thanks to 97 to Callum Ferguson and a quick fire 48 from tailender Adam Zampa. Steve O’Keefe marked his return from injury by claiming 5/89 for the Blues. In reply New South Wales looked in control at 4/226 thanks to 65 to Ryan Carter and 81 to Kurtis Patterson and needed just 72 runs for first innings points. However they collapsed to be 9/273 before keeper Peter Neville with 71 steered the Blues past the Redbacks total and secured first innings points and a lead of just 4 runs. In their second innings the Redback’s could only manage 280 despite half centuries to Sam Raphael, Tom Copper (89) and Callum Ferguson with Steve O’Keefe once again the main wicket taker with 6/70. Set 277 for victory New South Wales never looked liked chasing the total with wickets falling regularly; only opener Ryan Carters fighting 84 offered any form of resistance as no other batsmen in the top 8 managed 20. In a tense finish the last two batsmen, Josh Hazlewood and Doug Bollinger, had to face the final 5 overs. Despite some close calls New South Wales managed to escape with a draw and deny South Australia outright points – a result that could prove critical in the final placings on the points table. Johan Botha was the best performed bowler for SA with 4 wickets in each innings.
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South Australia could well rue missed opportunities to secure outright points against New South Wales and Queensland in recent weeks. With four teams still in contention to make the final all will be decided in the final round beginning next Tuesday.
Queensland welcomed back batsmen Chris Lynn and Usman Khawaja and added allrounder Mick Nesser after impressive perfomances with both bat and ball in the Futures League.
The biggest selection story of this round of the Sheffield Shield however was the debut of former Test allrounder Andrew McDonald for his new state, South Australia. Having not played since the early part of the Ryobi Cup in mid October due to complications to a hamstring injury. McDonald made his return to representative cricket with a game in the Futures League. Having got through that game unscathed, McDonald lined up for South Australia batting at number 3. McDonald managed only 15 and 23 and bowled just 4 overs for no wickets, but it was good to see one of the best perfomers in Shield cricket over the previous four seasons return to the field after a detached hamstring injury caused him to miss the best part of the this seasons and the last.
1. Ryan Carters (New South Wales)
Scrapped hard for half centuries in both innings while the rest of the top order fialed. His efforts were crucial in NSW gaining first innings points and managing a draw.
2.Rob Quiney (Victoria)
Made a welcome return to form with 70 to give Victoria some stability at the top of the order.
3. Marcus Stoinis (Victoria)
Made his maiden first class hundred one to remember with 170 batting at number 3 against Tasmania a the MCG.
4. Callum Ferguson
Managed 97 in the first innings against NSW.
5. Peter Forrest (Queensland)
Made 133 in a low scoring game against Western Australia at the Gabba. It proved to be a match winning hand.
6. Luke Butterworth (Tasmaina)
Guided Tasmanai to safety with a patient 107, batting the entire last day of the game against Victoria
7. Peter Neville (New South Wales)
Made a crucial 71 and personally secured first innings points for New South Wales
8. James Hopes (Queensland)
The veteran keeps getting it done with the ball this time decimating WA’s first innings with 6/45.
9. Johan Botha (South Australia)
The SA skipper proved problematic for the NSW batsmen claiming 4 wickets in each innings: 4/70 and 4/51
10. Steve O’Keefe (New South Wales)
A brilliant return to the NSW line up after an injury lay off, the left arm orthodox spinner claimed 5/89 and 6/70
11. Jason Beherendorf (Western Australia)
Managed 5/105 in Queensland’s first innings.
The round ahead
The final round of the 2013/14 Sheffield Shield starts on Tuesday March 11 with all three games having an impact on who could make the Shield final.
New South Wales v Western Australia, Manuka Oval (3rd v 1st)
Tasmania v South Australia, Bellerive
Victoria v Queensland, MCG