South Australia 154 and 385 (Nielsen 114, Ferguson 97, Steketee 4-43) lost to Queensland 5 for 496 dec and 3 for 105 dec (Khawaja 46*) by 62 runs
Three late wickets from Mitchell Swepson following a fine spell from Mark Steketee handed Queensland a last-gasp victory over South Australia at Glenelg Oval and denied Callum Ferguson, who was lbw for 97, a fairytale finish to his first-class career.
A 218-run stand between Ferguson and Harry Nielsen (114) was broken by an outstanding spell of reverse swing bowling from Steketee, before some gritty lower batting from Liam Scott, Chadd Sayers, and Daniel Worrell took South Australia to within 20 minutes of another remarkable draw and within 65 runs of an unlikely victory. However Swepson, who had bowled 50 wicketless overs, then took 3 for 0 in 11 deliveries to seal the match.
South Australia began the day needing 310 for victory with just six wickets in hand. Ferguson and Nielsen were unfazed by the task and batted through the morning session as both reached their half-centuries prior to the second new ball being taken.
The new ball accelerated the game as the scoring rate quickened. Nielsen had taken 126 deliveries to reach his half-century but needed just 53 to go from fifty to a hundred when he brought up his second Sheffield Shield century with a streaky slice through point. It had been more than two-and-a-half years since his first century came on debut against Victoria.
The partnership passed 200 and took them into the afternoon session but both had their share of luck. Nielsen survived a very close lbw shout playing back to Swepson and Ferguson nicked Michael Neser just wide of Jimmy Peirson with no slip in place.
A Ferguson farewell century looked written in the stars until Steketee broke Redback hearts with a devastating spell of reverse swing to open up the game for Queensland, trapping Ferguson lbw just three short of a hundred with a ball than darted back late. Every Queensland player gave Ferguson a fist bump as he left for the final time to warm applause from the crowd.
Nielsen’s exit six overs later was far less glamorous. He was given out lbw to a full late inswinger and showed his displeasure at the decision in no uncertain terms feeling he got an inside edge.
Queensland’s path to victory seemed clear but they ran into two roadblocks in the form of Scott and Sayers. Both men faced over 100 deliveries to take the game deep into the last session and frustrate the visitors no end.
It was Steketee once more who made the breakthrough. He hit Scott flush on the helmet with a sharp bouncer that followed the tall right-hander as he swayed back to avoid it. Play was delayed for several minutes as Scott was tested for concussion and had his helmet replaced. Despite being passed fit to continue his judgment was clearly rattled as he shouldered arms to the next delivery only to have his off stump knocked back by a sharp late inswinger.
Sayers and Worrall fought doggedly for 17 overs taking the game into the last half an hour. But Swepson, in his 51st over of the innings saved his best until last. He produced a textbook leg-break to have Sayers caught at second slip for 46 and two balls later bamboozled Wes Agar with a faster legbreak from wide of the crease to trap him plumb lbw playing the wrong line.
In his next over, he found the edge of Lloyd Pope’s bat in a carbon copy of Sayers’ dismissal to cue Queensland celebrations.
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