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Redbacks take top Shield spot


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South Australia stumbled early, but in the end they cruised to an outright win and top of the Sheffield Shield table.

The Redbacks reached 4/100 to take the honours against New South Wales at the SCG.

NSW started the day confident they could produce a miracle win, despite protecting a mere 95 run lead.

The Redbacks then lost three wickets in the first six overs – Klinger, Head and then Hughes all falling to have South Australia reeling at 3/6.

Shortly after Cooper went for 12 and they were 4/31.

Captain Johan Botha and Callum Ferguson steadied the ship and the Redbacks passed the required mark with a five-penalty run score as the ball hit a left helmet  sitting on the ground.

The Blues were skittled yesterday by a Gary Putland-inspired attack for a miserable 148 in their second innings, setting a meagre target of 96.

Ben Rohrer produced one of the few fighting efforts for NSW before getting a questionable lbw decision to be out for 40.

South Australia had cruised to first-innings points on day three at the SCG when their tail wagged – their final five wickets adding 151 to help them post 426 for a 53-run lead.

But efforts before and after tea look certain to deliver them an outright victory, destroying the NSW top and middle order to leave them reeling at 6-75.

The match had been billed as a top-of-the-table clash with SA trailing the top-placed Blues by just two points.

Led by Putland (4-35), South Australia made short work of the Blues’ top order to have the home side struggling at 3-27 by tea.

Chadd Sayers (2-13) sent the stumps of Nic Maddinson (0) flying in the first over of the innings before Putland took over.

He had Scott Henry caught at third slip by Johan Botha for one and, soon after, trapped in-form opener Ryan Carters (4) lbw to have the Blues reeling at 3-11.

But worse was to come, with Redbacks skipper Botha grabbing the crucial wickets of Moises Henriques and Rohrer, who had combined for a first-innings partnership of 187.

Rohrer initially stood his ground to express displeasure at the decision, and replays suggested he had reason to be aggrieved – with the ball hitting high on his pad.

“It missed the pad entirely, but that’s cricket,” he said.

A rearguard action from allrounder Sean Abbott (27), Steve O’Keefe (15) and debutant Manjot Singh (19) ensured play would advance to a fourth day.

Earlier, Kane Richardson hit a sparkling run-a-ball 40 to put on a 74-run eighth-wicket partnership with Joe Mennie (45) to secure first-innings points.

South Australia now sits on top – and can ponder the fact that if they get a home Shield final, they will have lost out to the Rolling Stones.

The match would be played at Glenelg Oval.

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