Abbott takes six in big New South Wales win
New South Wales 447 (Carters 198, Patterson 126, Boyce 4-161, Hopes 3-114) beat Queensland 268 and 99 (Burns 27, Abbott 6-14) by an innings and 80 runs
Sean Abbott's best first-class haul demolished the Queensland batting line-up and delivered an innings victory to New South Wales on the fourth day at the SCG. Abbott claimed 6 for 14 from seven overs in an outstanding spell of bowling that resulted in Queensland being dismissed for 99 in their second innings and a victory margin of an innings and 80 runs.
It was the brightest possible return to cricket for Abbott, who 17 days ago at the same venue delivered a bouncer that struck Phillip Hughes on the neck. He sent down a bouncer in his first over of this Sheffield Shield match and claimed two wickets in the first innings, before running through the Queensland batting order in the second to comfortably improve on his previous best first-class haul of 4 for 36.
Abbott bowled with impressive pace and movement, and claimed six straight wickets after spinner William Somerville removed both Queensland openers and Usman Khawaja fell to Mitchell Starc. At one stage, Abbott was on a hat-trick after he dismissed Chris Hartley and Cameron Brimblecombe from consecutive balls, but Luke Feldman dug out a yorker to deny the hat-trick.
Notably, his wicket of Chris Hartley came from a searing, accurate bouncer that was gloved to gully. Abbott had not played club cricket at the weekend, but the New South Wales coach Trevor Bayliss said there had never been any doubt that he would take part in this match. Bayliss said Abbott had handled the tragedy of Hughes' death well under the circumstances.
"He's obviously had a hard couple of weeks, as most of the guys have," Bayliss said. "To finish off the game like that this afternoon on a fourth-day wicket, it was a hostile spell, and when he pitched up he got the reverse swing. It was a lot faster finish to the game than we envisaged at the start of the day.
"He handled things very well. I think he handled it a lot better than some of the others. I don't think there was any thought at all of him not playing this game. Probably the fact that his name kept getting mentioned as the bowler kept reminding him and everyone else about that incident. But it's just fantastic to see the smiles on their faces around that dressing room tonight."
Earlier in the day, New South Wales had added 61 to their overnight total for the loss of their last four wickets. Ryan Carters missed the chance for a double-century when on 198 he was bowled by a ripping legbreak from Cameron Boyce that pitched in the rough outside leg, turned and clipped the top of the off stump.
It was a rare highlight for the Bulls, who had to rely heavily on Boyce, debutant offspinner Brimblecombe and captain James Hopes, due to groin injuries sustained during the match by Feldman and Ben Cutting. New South Wales were eventually dismissed in their second innings for 447.
The New South Wales captain Moises Henriques said it was pleasing to come away with a win, but more than anything he was happy his players had come through the match mentally strong after the loss of Hughes, a former state team-mate who was playing against them when struck late last month.
"It was a strange feeling because at the start of this game no one knew what to expect," Henriques said. "A few of us played club cricket on Saturday and struggled to get up for the game and into the contest ... At the start of day one it wasn't so much about trying to come away from points, it was about trying to get through the game."