A captain’s knock by Jake Lehmann has saved SA from a possible defeat to NSW.South have escaped with a draw in their Sheffield Shield opener against NSW at Adelaide Oval, where the hosts flirted with disaster during a final-day collapse of 5-27.
SA were set a target of 253 shortly before tea on Friday, when Peter Nevill declared at 8-279 after producing a captain’s knock of 72 not out.
The Redbacks lost Jake Weatherald and Callum Ferguson in a six-over burst before tea.
The home side crashed to 5-41 in 15.3 overs then 6-74 but Jake Lehmann refused to fold, reaching stumps unbeaten on 33 to ensure his team avoided what would have been an ignominious loss.
Lehmann soaked up 126 deliveries, standing up in his first Shield game as skipper, while Joe Mennie successfully survived 51 balls.
The sides shook hands when the Redbacks reached 6-103 from 44.3 overs.
“We drove the game pretty well for most of it, so to go out and lose six quick wickets this afternoon was pretty disappointing,” SA paceman Chadd Sayers said.
“The captain showed it was doable to stay out there and Joe Mennie as well, he showed some resilience.
“Better to walk away with a draw than losing six points.”
Former Test paceman Trent Copeland snared match figures of 9-131, earning man of-the-match honours.
Copeland collected 6-86 in SA’s first dig, including his 300th first-class wicket, then removed openers Weatherald and Conor McInerney to give NSW a genuine sniff of victory on day four.
Copeland later returned to the attack and set the stage for a dramatic finish, trapping Cameron Valente lbw for 24 late in the session.
New-ball partner Sean Abbott was also dominant on Friday, trapping Tom Cooper lbw and finding the edge of Ferguson and Harry Nielsen’s bats.
“We play here next week, so we’ll have to learn from our mistakes and get better,” Sayers said.
Copeland also helped himself to 64 runs in the game, finishing not out in both digs.
NSW were struggling early on Friday morning, having resumed their second innings at 3-84 then slipped to 5-121 when Nevill strode to the crease with the game in the balance.
The former Test keeper slowly but surely swung momentum, sharing key partnerships with debutants Jack Edwards, Jason Sangha and Daniel Sams.
Sayers finished with figures of 5-101 on Friday, which included his 250th first-class scalp.
“To have taken that many wickets is great. To have taken most of them for South is even better,” he said.