Blues leave Tassie behind at SCG - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues leave Tassie behind at SCG

By Tom Wald 27/01/2007 06:40:39 PM Comments (0)

Phil Jaques started the long road back to Test reckoning with an overdue hundred as NSW steamrolled competition leaders Tasmania on the opening day at the SCG.

The left-hander's unbeaten 192 lifted him out of his batting funk with Tasmania's bumbling fieldsmen assisting his revival by dropping him on 21 and 71 in blustery conditions.

Jaques' lean summer has reflected NSW's fortunes with the Blues losing their last ten matches on the trot in the three domestic competitions.

After opting to bat first, the home side was 2-373 at stumps with Jaques and Dominic Thornely (13no) at the crease on a fairly benign deck, Ed Cowan (108) earlier contributing a stylish maiden Pura Cup ton.

Jaques had compiled just 138 runs at 13.8 in his last five four-day matches after being on the brink of national selection at the start of the summer.

The 27-year-old showed his determination to reach three figures by spending 15 balls lodged on 99 before clipping spinner Xavier Doherty (2-111) down the leg side for two.

West Australian Chris Rogers is the favourite to claim the vacant Test opening spot left by Justin Langer's retirement, following an excellent four-day season.

However Australia's next Test is not expected to be until later this year against Sri Lanka, handing other contenders like Jaques plenty of time to build a case for elevation.

National selector Jamie Cox was at the SCG and should have been impressed by what he witnessed.

However it was Jaques's opening partner Cowan that made all the early running with the diminutive left-hander scoring his century in only 126 balls.

The opening pair put on 183 and Cowan earlier raised one arm in the air in triumph as he completed the single to bring up his first hundred in less than two and half hours.

He earlier set the tone for NSW's day out by peeling two boundaries off the first over from paceman Ben Hilfenhaus but the Tigers had their chances of restricting the Blues.

Brendan Drew grassed a tough chance off a Jaques' pull shot at square leg with the two-Test player on 21.

However much worse was to come for the visitors with Cowan handed a life on 53 with Damien Wright dropping a regulation catch at midwicket off Doherty's bowling.

The Tigers' fielding woes continued with a ball scooting through Hilfenhaus's legs for four before lunch.

Jaques was handed another life, some 29 runs short of his century, after the interval with Dane Anderson dropping a sitter at fine leg.

Tasmanian skipper Dan Marsh finally held onto a catch for his side with a reflex grab at first slip off Doherty's bowling to remove Cowan.

But he then failed to hold onto another hot chance just four runs later, again off Doherty's bowling with Katich handed the reprieve on zero.

Jaques and Katich (54) put on 112 for the second wicket before Doherty finally claimed the skipper with a bat-pad catch to George Bailey.

Jaques said a more patient approach at the beginning of his innings had paid off.

"I have probably been in a bit of a hurry during the year trying to make the runs before they came, it is has just been a change of philosophy and it seemed to work nicely," he said.

He admitted to a little luck falling his way in the form of the two dropped catches.

"The one at fine leg was a bit of luck and the one at square leg (more difficult)... it is one of those things," he said.

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