Sheffield Shield matches reach decisive stage

Published: Saturday, March 12, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Brisbane:Western Australia (WA) staged a late fightback against Queensland at the Gabba in Brisbane in a bid to host the Sheffield Shield final next week.

WA charged back into contention in the make-or-break four-day match after Queensland opener Clinton Perren ripped apart the WA attack on Saturday to post a century and set up his side's 320-run lead.

Perren hit 15 fours in his 105 before he became part of a collapse that kept alive WA's hopes of hosting the final by finishing top of the table.

Queensland lost 4-27 and slumped to 235 for seven before Wade Seccombe and Andy Bichel staged a quickfire recovery to steer them to 289 for eight by the close of the third day's play.

A draw would be enough for Queensland to host their sixth decider in seven seasons but an outright defeat would see the game moved to Perth due to WA's superior runs quotient.

Queensland lead the standings with 42 points but WA (36) would move level with a win.

WA and New South Wales (NSW) (36) are locked in a battle to meet Queensland in the final with NSW poised to claim outright points against Victoria at the SCG.

NSW reached 129 for three at the close of the third day's play to keep alive their hopes.

Chasing 225 to win against Victoria, NSW batsman Dominic Thornely was 24 not out at the close with James Packman on seven.

Phil Jaques hit a stylish 78 for NSW after his first innings of 116.

NSW bowled Victoria out for 347 before tea, leaving the home side a potentially awkward chase with four sessions of play remaining on a pitch that was starting to keep low.

In the other match in Adelaide, a five-wicket haul to Tasmanian paceman Damien Wright could not prevent South Australia (SA) from building a substantial first-innings lead and putting Tasmania on the ropes on day three.

SA made 471 in their first innings, a lead of 152, then had Tasmania in trouble at 35 for three in their second innings at stumps, with seemingly no chance of gaining the outright victory they need to avoid the wooden spoon.

First innings century-maker Michael Bevan was not out on 12 at the close, with Travis Birt on one.

Wright finished with 5-108 in SA's first innings.

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