Blues jump to top of Pura Cup ladder - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues jump to top of Pura Cup ladder

By Tim Clarke 11/02/2007 07:44:18 PM Comments (0)

New South Wales has jumped to the top of the Pura Cup ladder after clinically accounting for Western Australia by 188 runs inside three days at the WACA Ground.

While man-of-the-match Stuart Clark rightly grabbed most of the headlines with match figures of 10-94, the Blues received decisive contributions from a number of players.

Phil Jaques and Brad Haddin compiled half centuries in both innings while Clark received valuable support from fellow fast bowlers Doug Bollinger and Mark Cameron.

Brett Dorey provided one of few highlights for the home side with a five-wicket haul while young spinner Aaron Heal again showed his all-round potential with a second successive Pura Cup fifty.

Billed as a clash between two favourites for the Pura Cup title before play, NSW dominated all but sparse patches of the match, batting more confidently, fielding more competently, and comprehensively outbowling the home side.

Five dropped catches in NSW's first innings of 270 - including the shelling of Phil Jaques and Simon Katich before they had reached double figures - proved vital, as did the failure of WA's top order twice in three days.

Culpable as any in that second time around was WA skipper Justin Langer, who despite stating he is ready to play on for WA next year, may well have walked out to bat at his beloved WACA Ground for the last time.

If it was indeed Langer's last first class innings in Perth, the manner of his dismissal would have left the 105-Test veteran distraught.

With two men in the deep for the miscued hook, that is exactly what Langer did off a Clark riser, finding Bollinger on the fine leg boundary.

Just after lunch, Clark struck another telling blow by breaching Chris Rogers' previously solid defence to leave the Test aspirant two short of 1,000 runs for the season, and WA's slim victory hopes in a heap.

With Clark rested for the first time in either innings - having bowled an uninterrupted spell of 24.4 overs spanning both WA efforts - the home side may have thought they had earned some respite.

But Mark Cameron steamed in with aggression to unsettle and eventually remove the Warriors' middle order.

Haddin's first catch of the innings to dismiss North was a spectacular one-handed legside effort, sparking a remarkable afternoon of clean glovework as h claimed six catches for the innings.

Heal showed bravado as he smacked a half century off 35 balls before Cameron brought an end to the frivolity to finish with 4-37.

NSW face Queensland and Tasmania in their last two fixtures with their Pura Cup fate in their own hands.

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