NSW v WA, Sheffield Shield, Sydney January 26, 2013

O'Keefe keeps New South Wales on top

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on January 27, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    dms1972 - Starc a match-winner? Where were his match-winning qualities against SA in pace-friendly conditions in Perth right when we had a chance to become no.1? He had one good match against an inept touring Indian side (even a club-level bowler would have performed in that series). He got a bag of tail-enders in one innings against SL as well which was good too, but that's it. Where were his match-winning qualities against NZ when he averaged 50 and we failed to win the series against a minnow? Apart from that one India match, the BEST he's averaged is 26 (which is acceptable without being great), but that's all in home conditions. He's been extremely inconsistent in the shield as well. He belongs in the short form of the game, and whilst I admit he's not bad for tests, he's just not the key to getting us back to no.1. Jackson Bird, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris (yes he's only got less than a handful of years left), but these guys are the test quality we need to get back to no.1

  • Lester on January 27, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Stephen O'Keefe has certainly produced a deserved match winning performance against WA, and his presence in the Australian squad for India together with Lyon might prove to be inspirational for both spinners and the selectors. Of the current crop of spinners in Sheffield Shield cricket who have been in favour with the NSP of late (Doherty, Beer & Holland etc.), none of them has done anything of real merit in the long form of the game. O'Keefe who has a "7 for" in first class cricket and current hot form in the just concluded match against WA stands alone. His all round ability is ably reflected in his first class match stats. John Inverarity was a more than useful leftarm orthodox spinner himself in his heyday. Perhaps that might carry some weight. We can only ponder and hope for Australia's sake.

  • Damien on January 27, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    @Wefinishthis, when you finished your comment with "Starc is completely overrated", you lost all my respect for your opinion. I agree O'Keefe should be given a chance at international level, and have thought that for a long time, but if you can't recognise a match winner (Starc) when you see one, then anything you say can't be taken too seriously. Another thing, if Pattinson is fit, he plays, he's not 12th man.

  • Patrick on January 27, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Stats don't mean everything but Doherty's long game figures are very concerning for a test prospect. SOK's couldn't be more timely, Clarke's left orthodox has done well in India as I recall. Moises should be heading over too. There is nothing 'flash in the pan' about either of them, if Steve Smith & Maxwell are deemed worthy of a chance then surely SOK & Moey are now overdue. My Indian squad- Warner, Cowan/Watson, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Wade/Haddin, Henriques, O'Keefe, Starc/Pattinson, Siddle/Bird, Lyon. Seam is Aust strength despite the pitches, we need handy reverse bowlers like Moey & Watson or we're praying for the kind of Miracle Panesar delivered Eng.

  • Brendan on January 27, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    Australia has to pick Steve O'keefe. 8 wickets in this match and he leaks no runs at all. So he is better than our suposed no.1 spinner, Nathan Lyon, but we don't pick him. SOK needs to go to India with Aus squad and then to Eng as no.1 spinner. Maybe SOK could follow Starc and play in England somewhere just before the Ashes, instead of playing IPL. His time is now and SOK will be a key member in India and England. Great spin bowler.

  • Bob on January 27, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Thinking of the Test squad for India, it seems to be the batting that is the main problem. That and a seaming all-rounder if the NSP continues their magnificent obsession! How many are there to be in the squad anyway? O'Keefe certainly deserves a spot as an all-rounder. Cowan or Watson to open with Warner? There are at least 5 quicks deserving of a spot but not enough room for all 5 - Siddle, Starc, Pattinson, Johnson and Bird. Wade and Haddin? If so, is there a need for a back-up batsman? My starting 12 would be Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Wade, Johnson, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Starc, Siddle, Lyon. Others to be added to the squad, depending on size, include Haddin, Henriques, Smith/Khawaja.

  • Peter on January 26, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    SOK continues to bowl well on pitches closer to the subcontinent than any other pitches. He is a very solid batsman (not top 6, but definitely #8), fields well, has a smart cricket brain, let us see if he gets a start with the tour party. I get that feeling he won't be picked, no reason, just get that feeling. Mo Hemques continues his solid season, hopefully will be considered as he also reverse swings.

  • Gregory on January 26, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Doherty is not a Test match bowler. He bowls defensively which is perfect for ODIs and T20s but does not have the aggression or variations to take wickets when the batsmen are not attacking him... Lyon has the same problem... This is why O'Keefe should be the number one spinner for Australia

  • Toby on January 26, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    @Eightfa, he gets injured every season, unfortunately. I'm not quite sure why he hasn't been given a chance in the past few years, though, blokes as class act and would add another much-needed leader to the side.

  • Andrew on January 26, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    Man if Doherty or Beer (or both) get the nod over SO'K - I'll renounce my citizenship!

  • No featured comments at the moment.