Western Australia will potentially have a home Sheffield Shield final to play for in next week’s final round despite their match against NSW petering out to a tame draw.
The rain-affected contest on a dead Bankstown Oval pitch came to an agreed early close at tea on day four with WA on 4-75, 223 runs clear of the hosts.
WA elected for batting practice on the final day scoring at less than two runs per over in their second dig, after NSW crucially edged past the follow-on mark during the morning session.
The Blues had Jason Sangha and the unlikely figure of Chris Tremain to thank for some batting heroics as the pair put on a match-saving 108 for the eighth-wicket.
Tremain notched up just his second first-class half century in his 69th match and had pulled his side past the follow-on mark when he was dismissed for 58.
No.4 Sangha was the mainstay of the innings with a cautious 86 from 219 deliveries.
Before next Wednesday’s home match against Victoria, WA coach Adam Voges found an upside to the rain-marred contest in Sydney.
“The one advantage of only bowling once is that you don’t put a huge workload into your bowling group, and with such a short turnaround hopefully everyone is fit and firing for next week,” he said.
WA have played just two of their six matches this season at the WACA, the most recent being in October.
“It is a simple equation for us, we need to win next week and if we do that we can hopefully host the Shield final so clearly we have plenty to play for,” Voges said.
“It has been a long summer for us, we have spent a lot of time over east and to get back in front of our family and fans (so) we have that incentive of getting a home final.”
NSW will head to South Australia – the only team out of contention for the final – with several injury concerns.
Blues’ coach Phil Jaques was “pretty optimistic” spinner Tanveer Sangha will be available after suffering a mild concussion while fielding on day one.
Key pair Daniel Hughes and Moises Henriques, however, are far less likely to play after suffering injuries during the match.
Experienced wicketkeeper Peter Nevill sat out the contest with a shoulder injury.
NSW have already used a significant number of personnel this season, and collected a crucial win in Brisbane last month despite several absentees.
Riley Ayre was the latest debutant for the Blues, having entered the match as a substitute for Sangha, and the spinner picked up his first wicket to return 1-9 from four tidy overs in WA’s second innings.