Redbacks bite back

CENTURY-MAKER Michael Klinger and ex-New South Welshman Dan Christian combined to navigate South Australia to a tense three-wicket victory over the Blues in their one-day match in Wollongong yesterday.

Following the pain of last Saturday night’s Twenty20 final loss to Victoria in Adelaide, the Redbacks needed to show some bite and Klinger (124 off 133 balls) and Christian (90no off 73 balls) did just that at North Dalton Park.

Chasing 295 to win, they combined for a record fifth-wicket stand for SA off 150, the visitors getting home with just two balls to spare when No.9 Gary Putland (4no) hit the winning runs.

Steve Smith (92 off 106 balls) and Dominic Thornely (51) earlier resurrected the Blues’ innings with a century partnership following Shaun Tait’s (3-67 off 10 overs) destructive opening spell.

David Warner (66 off 40 balls) backed up their efforts with a pulsating innings and looked to have handed the Blues a highly challenging target before Klinger and Christian came together.

SA earlier won the toss and opted to bowl first in the steamy, swing-friendly conditions at the beachside location.

Local boy Phil Jaques (0) was elevated up the order to lead the charge but found Tait too hot to handle, having his leg stump knocked back third ball.

Skipper Simon Katich (5) was Tait’s next victim and the tearaway had the Blues at 3-19 after making a mess of Moises Henriques’ (4) stumps.

That brought Smith to the crease and he enjoyed the sort of luck needed early in an innings on a lively deck, caught off Tait’s bowling on 20 from a no-ball.

Phil Hughes (15) wasn’t so fortunate as Putland (3-53 off 10 overs) rattled his pegs with NSW slumping to 4-49.

Smith and Thornely steadily put the Blues back on track before quick wickets saw NSW reduced again to 7-193.

But Warner produced an exhilarating innings from No.7, packed with his customary power hitting, and the last pair of Mitchell Starc and Nathan Bracken put on 37.

Bracken (1-52 off 10 overs) made a sluggish start in his first outing for NSW following knee surgery, bowling a wide before quickly finding his mark.

He frustrated Daniel Harris (8) into a poor shot and Tom Cooper (19) handed Mitchell Starc a wicket by shouldering arms to a ball that hit his stumps.

The Redbacks looked ingenuine trouble at 4-119 after Steve Smith (1-49 off 10 overs) trapped SA skipper Graham Manou in front but Christian changed the game with his hard-hitting knock.

Requiring three runs off the last over, debutant Michael Cranmer (3) was run out off a direct hit off the first ball.

Christian hit a single to make the equation two runs off four balls and Gary Putland (4no) could not score off the next ball to make the situ- ation more tense then it needed to be. But Putland held his nerve and drove Dominic Thornely to the boundary to bring up the win.

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