MacGill spins NSW into Sheffield Shield final

Published: Sunday, March 9, 2003, 4:31 [IST]
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Sydney: New South Wales (NSW) will contest its first Sheffield Shield final in almost a decade after a four-wicket burst by Test leg spinner Stuart MacGill enabled it to beat Queensland by 241 runs in its last qualifying clash at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) Saturday. Test captain Steve Waugh's side will play Queensland next week in Brisbane - its first appearance in a first-class state final since it won the Shield in 1993-94. NSW will go into the final with a strong psychological advantage over Queensland after bowling out the visitors for 190 and 148 with a day to spare. NSW trailed on the first innings after making an abysmal 102 on the first morning, but recovered in its second knock by making 477 for eight and declaring, with Steve Waugh (138) and Michael Clarke (120) batting in commanding fashion. Queensland went into the match without strike bowler Joe Dawes, but he is expected to be fit for the final after damaging his back before this match. The defending champion will also be concerned about the fitness of former skipper Stuart Law, who has a bruised wrist which kept him out of this game. To add to its woes, all-rounder Lee Carseldine hurt his back when fielding in New South Wales' first innings and is no certainty to play in the final. After New South Wales declared at lunch on Saturday, Steve Waugh took the unusual move of opening the bowling with MacGill, who snapped up 4-76 - giving him nine wickets for the match. Don Nash (four for 10) cleaned up the tail, removing the last three batsmen in quick succession as New South Wales completed the win which ended Victoria's hopes of playing in the final. Victoria has no chance of reaching the showdown, even if it beats Western Australia outright on the last day of the match ending in Melbourne Sunday. The Victorians are in a sound position to collect maximum points after Brad Hodge hit 183 to power them to a first innings 486 - a lead of 211. Batting a second time, Western Australia skidded to 88 for three, needing another 123 to make Victoria bat again. In Adelaide, Tasmania is fighting to stave off outright defeat by South Australia in another match which now has no bearing on the Shield final. Batting a second time needing 224 runs to avoid an innings thrashing, Tasmania went to stumps with 153 for four, its slim hopes of escaping a loss in the hands of Michael Divenuto, who followed up a first innings 81 with 82 not out, and Daniel Marsh (32 not out). Copyright AFP 2001

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