NSW v South Australia, Sheffield Shield, Sydney, 4th day December 11, 2013

Redbacks top table with SCG win

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Australia 426 (Hughes 118, Ferguson 80, Copeland 4-92, O'Keefe 3-93) and 4 for 100 (Ferguson 45*, Abbott 3-42) beat New South Wales 373 (Henriques 127, Rohrer 97, Mennie 4-60) and 148 (Putland 4-35) by 6 wickets

South Australia will enter the Big Bash League hiatus on top of the Sheffield Shield table after shrugging off an early wobble to complete a six-wicket victory over New South Wales at the SCG.

Early wickets to Sean Abbott left the Redbacks teetering at 4 for 31 in pursuit of 98 to win, before Callum Ferguson and the captain Johan Botha reprised their first innings contributions to take the visitors to outright points by lunch on the final day.

Phillip Hughes was named man of the match for his first innings 118, but SA were beneficiaries of an even performance in which most players had a hand at some point of the four days.

NSW, in second place on the table following their defeat, will rue a second innings slide to the swing bowling of Gary Putland and Chadd Sayers on day three, having started the match aggressively by surging to 373 on day one.

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  • Eden on December 12, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    We all know Watson is an all rounder but his form over the last 3 years is average at best and he is picked as a batsmen who sometimes bowls. If you wanted an all rounder in the team which I think we don't need, Faulkner or Hopes would be better options because both are highly competitive beasts and team players Hopes being the ultimate team man. 6 batsmen 4 bowlers and a keeper thats all you need. Usually you get bowlers who can bat like Johnson and batsmen who can bowl. So please stop this all rounder obsession!

  • Frank on December 12, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    @DylanBrah well said. To add, Watsons strength as a bowler is keeping it tight and with pressure bowlers like sidds and rhino if we really need a 5th bowler it would preferably be a strike bowler like Smith, who yes will leak runs and will probably never have a sub 35 average but he can pick up big wickets. I reckon for south Africa ask Rogers to bat at 3, he could essentially be a safety net as let's face it even though they're improving every few innings we ate bound to lose an early wicket with Warner Hughes opening the innings

  • Dylan on December 11, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx - except you can hardly call Watson an allrounder anymore. The most you can hope for from Watto these days is 10 economical overs with 1 wicket for the match. Even then he is a high possibility of injuring himself in his first few overs and unable to contribute with the ball for the remainder of the match/series.. look at the India tour where he played as a batsman and failed... yet continues to be selected... based on what? Watson being in the team is doing more harm than good, especially batting at no.3. Who says we need an allrounder anyway? Especially with the way our bowling unit is going.

  • Guy on December 11, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @drfransworth, you are right that the all-rounder obsession has underpinned the ongoing selection of Watson. However, two factors suggest that this might not continue for long. 1) I think the scars of last year's Adelaide Test vs South Africa are fading, which may herald the return of the traditional policy of pick your best six batsmen and best four bowlers and if the batsmen can bowl or the bowlers can bat, it's a bonus. 2) James Faulkner is a genuine threat to Watson if the selectors continue with the mandatory all rounder selection. Hughes at 3 and Faulkner in for Smith or Bailey would, in my view, strengthen the batting AND the bowling. Of course, happy to stick with a winning combination at the moment, but Watson is a serial under-achiever and the sooner he is jettisoned the better.

  • Graham on December 11, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Great stuff by Hughes keep banging the door down until a spot opens up. Fergy averaging 70 this year has he finally started to fulfil his potential. Botha, Mennie and Richardson have all contributed several good knocks with the bat this year and Sayers although not at the level last year is the only pace bowler in any state to play all 6 consecutive shield matches. Hope the big bash doesnt stop our momentum like last season.

  • Michael on December 11, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Moppa - I think the selectors are obsessed with having an allrounder in the team. Maybe if we had 4 quality bowlers, or even 3, like McGrath, Warne etc, Watson would have been dumped a while ago, but our bowlers are too inconsistent at the moment (at least prior to the current Ashes series). Some others have said it, but Watson's 176 in the 5th Test in England was probably a bad thing as that cements his spot for the next year or two.

    Chris_P - I agree, Botha has done a great job, let's hope he signs up again. He could contribute a bit more with the bat being at number 6 but as long as he is helping win matches keep it as is.

    It's a shame the Big Bash takes over now. All Shield form will be lost, run rates will go up, poor dismissals everywhere, defensive bowling, etc.

  • James on December 11, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    @Moppa: Hughes is good in FC cricket and should be the next cab of the rank for the next batsman's spot. However, some folk like you are too thick to understand that Watson is an ALLROUNDER, he will ALWAYS be picked in the test side because he is the best all-rounder in the country, until Hughes gets a few hundred odd wickets he will never take Watson's spot.

  • Brenton on December 11, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    If Hughes keeps this up he will have 55 FC centuries by the age of 30.

    Boof isn't stupid and realises he is a talent. He has a plan for Hughes, clear his head of unwanted "advice", go back to his natural game, dominate a season of Shield then return to open the batting for Australia.

    Shame he didn't score an unbeaten 50* in the second innings. Averaging 60 for an opener is still head and shoulders above every other test candidate though.

  • Peter on December 11, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    A big tick for Botha who seems to have turned the culture right around. Always good for Aussie cricket when all the states are competitive.

  • Graham on December 11, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    zenboomerang; Slight problem the Rolling Stones have been booked to open the stadium during the shield final week, you might have to go down to Glenelg oval instead.

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