O'Keefe keeps New South Wales on top
Western Australia 242 and 8 for 211 (O'Keefe 4-47) lead New South Wales 344 (Smith 72, Henriques 71, Coulter-Nile 3-89, Agar 3-103) by 109 runs
The New South Wales captain Steve O'Keefe led from the front with four wickets to keep the Blues on top in their match against Western Australia at Sydney's Blacktown Oval. At stumps on the third day, the Warriors' tail had wagged enough to give them a 109-run lead but with only two wickets in hand - Ashton Agar was at the crease on 29 with Jason Behrendorff on 4 - it appeared they would need something special on the final day to avoid defeat.
The day began with New South Wales at 6 for 263 and they were able to add a further 81 runs for the loss of their final four wickets. Moises Henriques, who was not out on 62 overnight, was caught off the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nile for 71 but O'Keefe (36) and Trent Copeland (39) combined for a useful 54-run stand that pushed the Blues up to 344. Coulter-Nile collected 3 for 89 and the debutant spinner Ashton Agar took 3 for 104.
The second innings for the Warriors began well with a 67-run opening partnership between Marcus Harris (43) and Liam Davis (32) but after Chris Tremain broke that stand, O'Keefe became a danger to the middle order. After picking up 4 for 55 in the first innings, O'Keefe added 4 for 47 and his work could hardly have come at a better time, as Australia's selectors prepare to choose their Test squad to tour India.
Copeland also claimed two important wickets, including that of Michael Hussey lbw for 8, and the Warriors had slipped from 2 for 100 to 6 for 102. Coulter-Nile helped fight back with 42 before Agar and Behrendorff came together, but with only Michael Hogan still to bat the Warriors remained in trouble at stumps.