Blues rue two mad hours after folding for 53
New South Wales 53 (Butterworth 4-18) and 2 for 149 (Thornely 68*, Forrest 57*) trail Tasmania 370 (Di Venuto 181, Cameron 5-116) by 168 runs
New South Wales imploded for 53 in just over two hours, recording their lowest Pura Cup total and almost certainly ending their hopes of reaching the final. Tasmania were on track to secure hosting rights for the decider despite a better second-innings showing from the Blues, who were 2 for 149 in their follow on.
Dominic Thornely, the stand-in captain, and Peter Forrest, in his second Pura Cup match, recovered with a 124-run stand that raised even more questions about the visitors' disastrous first effort. Forrest was on 57 - his maiden first-class half-century - and Thornely was 68 as New South Wales tried to clamber out of their sizeable hole.
Only two Blues reached double-figures before their pitiful first innings ended in the 32nd over. It was their worst effort in 115 years of Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield competitions but they could not blame the pitch, as Tasmania completed their 370 in the morning session.
Luke Butterworth earned his best first-class tally, 4 for 18, after Damien Wright (3 for 7) and Ben Hilfenhaus (3 for 14) started the carnage. Hilfenhaus picked up the first three wickets and was on a hat-trick when he bowled Thornely and the visitors were 3 for 14. They went to lunch at 7 for 31 and Butterworth cleaned up the final three Blues shortly after the break.
Wright had New South Wales at 2 for 25 in their follow-on and it seemed the game could be over within two days before Forrest and Thornely cut the deficit to 168. Barring a stunning turnaround, New South Wales will only reach the final if Victoria and Western Australia - both of whom were in reasonable positions - fail to win.