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Blues Shield victory bid goes sour
By David Beniuk
20:12 AEST Sat Feb 9 2013

NSW's late victory bid narrowly avoided becoming a nightmare as they played out a nailbiting Sheffield Shield draw with Tasmania on Saturday at Bellerive.

Chasing 171 for an unlikely win, NSW finished 8-123 and with the Tigers throwing everything at them in the final overs of a bizarre match that had looked destined to finish in a lame stalemate at tea on the final day.

The Blues had their chance thanks to an explosive spell from young quick Chris Tremain (5-57), who blasted out the Tasmanian tail to give his side 25 overs to reach the target at a run rate of 6.84.

In a virtual Twenty20 innings, NSW came out blazing but were forced to shut up shop at 4-84 before finding themselves in trouble at 6-100.

Chief destroyer on the deteriorating Bellerive pitch was skidder Evan Gulbis, who finished with 4-36 and, at one stage, found himself on a hat-trick.

The Blues survived a tense final three overs, David Dawson (19no) blunting Gulbis in the last.

"In 25 overs, it was do-able," NSW captain Ben Rohrer said.

"The wicket was deteriorating and it was tough to score but we thought if we could put them under a bit of pressure, you never know."

NSW took first-innings points with their 500 in reply to Tasmania's 6(dec)-425 to jump the Tigers into fourth on the congested Shield ladder with 17 points.

Tasmania drop to fifth on 16.

The Tigers' first dig included a neat 200 for Ricky Ponting and a maiden Shield century from Jason Krejza.

Young gun Nic Maddinson and former Test quick Trent Copeland scored tons in NSW's first innings.

In a match played against the backdrop of thick smoke from bushfires near Hobart, 17 wickets fell on the final day after just seven had been lost on the first two days.

Tremain grabbed the Tigers' last four wickets in eight balls as the home side were bowled out for 245.

The 21-year-old took 4-0 as the Tigers lost 4-4, finding himself on a hat-trick in his 12th over before finishing with career-best figures in his third Shield game.

"He swings them both ways and at good pace too and he's got an awkward action," Rohrer said.

"For us going forward, he's going to be a good prospect in the future and hopefully a good prospect for Australia."

Tigers captain Tim Paine credited his bowlers for the fightback but slammed NSW for failing to declare their first innings and make a game of it earlier.

"Had we known they were going to do that, then Ricky would probably be still batting now," he said.


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