Victoria 251 (Stoinis 107, Abbott 3-60) and 7 for 234 (White 97*, Copeland 3-59) drew with New South Wales 341 (Patterson 82, Lyon 75, Tremain 4-47) and 178 (Copeland 47, Christian 5-40)
Nathan Lyon finished with a match haul of five wickets © Getty Images
South Australia will host their first Sheffield Shield final in 20 years after a Cameron White rearguard secured the most unlikely of draws to foil New South Wales in the last match of the regular season at Traeger Park in Alice Springs.
Victoria faded in the second half of the season to surrender a vast lead at the top of the Shield table to a fast finishing SA, but White’s performance – with help from Scott Boland – denied NSW their own home final, after the Blues seemed certain winners early on the final day.
White, who has spent time out of the Victoria side over the past two seasons as his domestic career seemed to be winding down, played the most stubborn of innings. This meant Victoria were lifted out of a deep hole, which had worsened from the unpromising overnight score of 3 for 20.
When Victoria captain Matthew Wade was pinned lbw by Nathan Lyon at 5 for 56, White and the lower order were left with the faint hope of surviving no fewer than 74.2 overs to secure a draw and a place in the final.
However White was not disheartened, and a stand of 62 in 24 overs with Dan Christian took the Bushrangers somewhat closer before the allrounder fell to Lyon’s wiles.
The tall paceman Chris Tremain then offered staunch support for a further 20 overs, and took Victoria to tea with four precious wickets in hand.
A second new ball loomed on resumption, and Trent Copeland used it effectively, coaxing Tremain to drag the first delivery he faced after the interval onto the stumps.
From that position the Blues looked to be favourites, but Boland steadied after a nervy start to provide vital support as White proved more or less impassable at the other end.
NSW tried no fewer than seven bowlers including the captain Nic Maddinson and Ed Cowan, but could not find a way to disturb White’s concentration, nor his sturdily straight bat.
Boland’s sense of security grew, and in the closing overs White even allowed himself the extravagance of a late flurry to reach a most deserved hundred. Having led the Shield table for most of the season, the Bushrangers ultimately stumbled over the line.
Their reward will be a final match up against a young SA team, that has confounded expectations plenty of times already this season, and now have the advantage of needing only a draw to secure the Shield, as they did in 1996 by a mere one wicket against Western Australia.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo