Victoria hold on after Jaques and Khawaja plunder
Victoria 311 & 5 for 144 (Rogers 94*) drew with New South Wales 8 for 390 dec & 3 for 306 dec (Jaques 131, Khawaja 107)
Phillip Hughes made the Test team but it was Phil Jaques and Usman Khawaja who posted centuries before New South Wales' bowlers gave the leaders Victoria a fright in the draw at Newcastle. After Jaques and Khawaja pushed the Blues to the declaration at 3 for 306, the Bushrangers slipped after a comfortable start to be 5 for 119 after tea.
They were chasing a nominal target of 386 for victory and were held together by Chris Rogers, another opener overlooked for the Test side, as they reached 5 for 144 when bad light ended the game. Rogers finished with an unbeaten 94 in a confident display after Nick Jewell, David Hussey, Cameron White and Andrew McDonald went for single figures. The medium pacer Grant Lambert was a handful for the middle order with 3 for 27 while Mitchell Starc had two wickets.
Hughes, who is on standby for Ricky Ponting for Boxing Day, fell in the first over of the fourth morning to a bat-pad catch on 7 before Jaques and Khawaja raced forward. Jaques scored his first domestic century since returning from back surgery, rushing to 131 off 141 balls, while Khawaja reached his second in as many games, finishing with 107 after being stumped off David Hussey. David Warner stepped in for a typical cameo of 48 from 30 balls, with five fours and two sixes, before the declaration arrived.
A result was unlikely as soon as the first day was washed out. Victoria have a six-point buffer at the top of the table while New South Wales dropped to last despite picking up first-innings points.