Thornely and Haddin put Blues on track for home final
New South Wales 6 for 446 (Thornely 146*, Haddin 113, Casson 75*, Cullen 4-58) lead South Australia 128 by 318 runs
New South Wales are well on the way to booking a home final after centuries to Brad Haddin and Dominic Thornely earned a commanding lead over the struggling South Australia. At the end of the second day the Blues held a 318-run advantage and need ten wickets over the final six sessions to stage the decider against Victoria.
A rugby league game is planned for the SCG next Sunday, but the cricketers believe they hold priority and it looks like their only issue ahead of the contest. Haddin made sure of the dilemma with a smooth 113 while Thornely sweated more over an unbeaten 146, his first century of the season.
Haddin and Thornely started the day at 4 for 76 and any concerns over them knocking off South Australia's first-innings 128 were quickly eliminated as they pocketed the two points. The century was a big boost for Haddin, who is preparing to succeed Adam Gilchrist in the national set-up, and he breezed to 97 before waiting 18 balls to strike Ryan Harris over square leg to bring up the milsestone.
Dropped on 70 by Daniel Christian - it was his third miss of the game - Haddin collected 10 fours and two sixes during his 159-ball innings and became Dan Cullen's fourth victim when caught at deep mid-on. While Haddin was expansive, Thornely was much more controlled during the 178-run stand and reached three figures from 252 balls after being stuck on 99 at tea.
Thornely continued to push the Blues ahead in the final session and finished the day with a cover-driven four, his 12th boundary of the innings. He also struck three sixes and had taken up 355 deliveries when his stay was interrupted by stumps. Beau Casson joined the run gathering with 75 not out and strengthened the position of the Blues.