Lee gives NSW victory in nail-biter
New South Wales 9 for 259 (Smith 51, Heal 3-52) beat Western Australia 252 (S Marsh 132, Lee 5-47) by 7 runs.
A five-wicket haul from Brett Lee earned New South Wales a tense victory against Western Australia, despite Shaun Marsh's 132 at the WACA. In a tight finish, the equation had come down to 13 needed off 11 balls with Marsh at the crease, and Western Australia were favourites to complete the chase of 260.
But Stuart Clark had Marsh caught by Nathan Hauritz, before Lee completed his five-for in the last over to leave the hosts seven runs short of their target. Marsh's century looked like it would be enough to get his team through after the match had swung like a pendulum during the hosts' second innings.
With 157 required at the halfway point, Marsh and his brother Mitchell took the Warriors to 4 for 198 with over eight overs to go. But Steven Smith, who was left out of the final squad for the first Ashes Test, bowled Mitchell, and then Lee, who last month announced he was ready for a return to international cricket, struck twice in the next over to leave Western Australia in trouble at 7 for 202.
Shaun, however, was undeterred; he got to his century and then accelerated to get Western Australia to within touching distance before Clark struck the crucial blow. New South Wales chose to play their first block cautiously, reaching 2 for 88 at the break. Smith then gave the innings some impetus as he got 51 off 43, before Steve O'Keefe ended with a few big hits, notching up four sixes in his 44, which came off 28 balls.
The total eventually proved good enough for New South Wales to stay in third position as they picked up four points, while Western Australia got one. Lee's five wickets and Clark's two have taken them to joint second place in the list of top wicket-takers in the Ryobi Cup, with 11 each.