NSW v WA, Sheffield Shield, Canberra, 2nd day March 12, 2014

NSW on top despite Agar's five

ESPNcricinfo staff

Western Australia 82 and 5 for 138 (North 44) lead New South Wales 186 (Smith 48, Agar 5-74) by 34 runs

Ashton Agar picked up five wickets to lead a Western Australia fightback but they followed that with a batting collapse that ensured New South Wales remained well on top after two days in Canberra. The two teams entered this final round equal on points at the top of the Sheffield Shield table, along with South Australia, and after two days it was the Blues who seemed to have the best chance of hosting the decider.

While Tasmania were building an enormous lead over South Australia in Hobart, New South Wales were doing their best to set themselves on the victory path against the Warriors, having skittled them for 82 on day one. Agar's five wickets meant the Blues managed only a 104-run first-innings lead and after Western Australia reached 1 for 101 in their second innings, it seemed like the match could have returned to an equal footing.

But Doug Bollinger and Sean Abbott picked up two wickets each to leave the Warriors wobbling at 5 for 138 at stumps, with Shaun Marsh on 9 and Sam Whiteman on 20. They held a slender lead of 34 runs and needed to extend that significantly on the third day, but the low scores all round in the match did not augur well for Western Australia.

New South Wales began the second day at 4 for 127 and lost their final six wickets for 59 runs. Agar finished with 5 for 74, including the key wicket of Kurtis Patterson for 44, and he ended the innings with the last two wickets in one over.