Blues salvage draw despite Hogg's six wickets
New South Wales 314 and 8 for 198 (Katich 61, Hogg 6-69) drew with Western Australia 351 and 5 for 305 dec (Rogers 73, North 73, Heron 57, Casson 3-97)
A six-wicket haul from Brad Hogg was not enough to give Western Australia victory as bad light helped New South Wales salvage a draw at the SCG. Beau Casson and Matthew Nicholson led a solid rearguard action for the Blues after Hogg, who took 6 for 69, pushed the Warriors tantalisingly close to a win only to have to settle for first-innings points.
When Hogg tore through the New South Wales middle order the Blues were in trouble at 7 for 162 chasing an out-of-reach 343 but Casson and Nicholson batted together for 19 overs to see out much of the danger period. The Warriors regained a glimmer of hope when Hogg had Nicholson caught by Clint Heron for 10 but Casson and Nathan Bracken were still at the crease when the umpires stopped play eight balls early due to bad light.
After losing Phil Jaques caught and bowled by Steve Magoffin from the second ball of the innings, Ed Cowan and Simon Katich put the Blues back on track, taking the score to 1 for 95. With 248 runs needed and more than 40 overs remaining a win, while unlikely, was at least a possibility for New South Wales. But when Hogg dismissed Cowan for 39 and Dominic Thornely fell for 0 in the next over the Blues became more watchful. Katich reached 61, following on from his 165 in the first innings, before Hogg had him caught and bowled.
Hogg continued to make inroads into the Blues' middle order, claiming Brad Haddin for 22, Nathan Hauritz for 3 and Aaron O'Brien for 17 to put victory within reach before Casson and Nicholson's stout defence saved their team. Casson batted for nearly two hours for his 37 not out and Bracken, although he did not score, faced a crucial 17 balls in 22 minutes to help his side avoid defeat.
The Warriors set New South Wales a hefty target of 343 from 69 overs after adding 154 to their overnight total and declaring at lunch at 5 for 305. Heron made 57 and Marcus North 73 from 80 balls as Western Australia looked for quick runs to restrict the Blues' chances of a successful chase.
Casson picked up two wickets in the morning session but his figures blew out to 3 for 97 from 15 overs after he took some heat from Luke Ronchi and Hogg shortly before the declaration. Hogg smashed Casson for three sixes in one over to finish unbeaten on 35 from 28 deliveries, while Ronchi hit two sixes in his 34-ball innings of 36 not out.