NSW overcome scare to maintain Sheffield Shield climb


New South Wales 251 (Henriques 95, Rocchiccioli 4-101) and 182 for 6 (Hughes 59, Nikitaras 56) beat Western Australia 256 (Whiteman 107, Philippe 52*, Green 3-33, Bird 3-37) and 176 (Bancroft 36, Green 6-83, Hatcher 2-26, Tremain 2-28) by four wickets

New South Wales captain Moises Henriques heaped praise on Chris Green after the offspinner played a starring role in his side’s four-wicket Sheffield Shield win over Western Australia.

Chasing 182 for victory, the Blues were cruising at 117 for 1 before suffering a collapse of 5 for 36 to put the game on a knife’s edge. Fearless knocks from Oliver Davies (24 not out off 23 balls) and Green (16no off 11) got the visitors over the line just after lunch on day four, handing them their first Shield victory at the WACA Ground since 2012.

NSW’s second success on the trot has lifted them to within a win of second spot, and they are also now neck-and-neck with defending champions WA.

Green was named player of the match after returning figures of 3 for 33 and 6 for 83 to go with his handy knocks in the low-scoring affair.

“I think these conditions and this wicket kind of suits him. He does rely on bounce a lot,” Henriques said. “In the second innings I thought he found his length beautifully. I felt like he dominated that whole innings.”

But Charlie Stobo’s dismissal of Nikitaras opened the door for WA as NSW’s middle order crumbled.

Spinner Corey Rocchiccioli snared Hughes and Matthew Gilkes, while Henriques was left in disbelief when he was given out caught behind down leg side for five. Replays suggested Henriques didn’t get any bat to the Joel Paris delivery.

NSW endured another piece of misfortune just before lunch when Jack Edwards shouldered arms to Paris and was given out lbw, despite the ball appearing to be too high. That left them needing another 29 runs for victory, but Davies and Green came out swinging after the break to quickly put the contest to bed.

“A big part of what we tried to do today was to hang in there,” Paris said. “I’m sure we gave NSW a bit of a scare in the change room. I’m really proud of the effort, but it’s a disappointing result.”

WA are sweating on the fitness of paceman Matt Kelly, who tore a pectoral muscle during the match. It comes on the back of a frustrating run of soft tissue injuries for the 29-year-old.

“He’s a bit sore at the moment,” Paris said. “He’s had a rough 10, 12 months after being so durable for such a long time. We’ll get around him as best as we can.”

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