Pura Cup: New South Wales v Western Australia at Sydney, 14-17 Dec 2001
Claire Killeen

New South Wales 2nd innings: Lunch - Day 4, Tea - Day 4, Stumps - Day 4,
Live Reports from previous days


New South Wales coach Steve Rixon lauded Michael Bevan as the best cricketer he's seen in a decade after the brilliant left hander steered the state to an improbable draw in the Pura Cup match against Western Australia here in Sydney today.

"From what I've seen of Michael Bevan, he's arguably the best I've seen in the past ten years," said Rixon, after the former Test batsman's double century had orchestrated the Blues' escape from a disastrous 363-run first innings deficit.

"He's got a full range of shots, and he's one of the few guys who can hit the full 360 degrees.

"(Our guys) showed a lot of resolve and character and that's the sort of thing that will get you into a 'Shield' final."

It was lavish praise, but praise hard to refute, after the tenacious Bevan (203*) produced the quintessential version of a captain's innings to guide the Blues to a second innings score of 4/452 by the time that stumps were drawn half an hour before the scheduled close.

It wasn't only that he batted through the entirety of the fourth day, registered his equal highest first-class score, or became the greatest run scorer in New South Wales' first-class history. Also stunning was his capacity to continue undisturbed by the bowlers for 562 minutes and forge significant partnerships today with teammates Mark Higgs (80) and Brad Haddin (52*).

He had started the day on a score of 78, and with the Blues still facing potential ruin at a total of 3/188.

But he was ultra-methodical, combining with Higgs in a stand of 181 runs that became the state's highest for the fourth wicket against Western Australia and then with Haddin in another of 85 at the end of the day.

He had dodged bullets yesterday, as wicketkeeper Ryan Campbell spilt a chance with his score at 8 and as a dubious lbw decision went his way on 19. But, by the end of today, very little was left to detract from his marathon performance.

"I felt I hit the ball well," said Bevan after play.

"I was under a bit of pressure out there and it was hard work, (but) it was satisfying.

"When it's that big a task, you've just got to say to yourself 'alright, let's get through this session' and maybe set some personal goals."

And he was also quick to pay credit to his teammates.

"(Greg) Mail and Higgs - they did the hard yards as well. They were good performances; it was good from their perspective as well."

Higgs and Bevan were eventually parted at the outset of the day's final session, when the former top edged a mistimed sweep at Brad Hogg (2/102) to present Simon Katich with a catch at mid on.

But splitting the partnership failed to dampen Bevan's efforts or his passage into the record books.

It was at 184 that the biggest of the milestones arrived - Alan Kippax's mantle as New South Wales' most prolific scorer of first-class runs seamlessly passing to the 31-year-old. On 203, he also equalled his own previous first-class best.

Western Australian captain Katich, for his part, tried nine of his players at the bowling crease in a bid to shift his rival skipper - various part timers utilised and opening batsmen Mike Hussey (0/6) and Scott Meuleman (0/1) even becoming closing bowlers.

But all of them found Bevan's bat and a true pitch impossible barriers to overcome.

Front line bowlers Brad Williams (1/73), Jo Angel (0/45) and Matthew Nicholson (0/61) also went without much in the way of luck at various stages of the innings as their team was forced to content itself with third - instead of second - place on the Pura Cup table.


Western Australia's hopes of securing an outright win are fading - just like the amount of overs that are left - in the Pura Cup match against New South Wales here at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.

After dominating the first three days, the Western Australians seem to have lost a bit of that spark today, and have surrendered the initiative to opposition captain Michael Bevan (174*) and middle order batsman Mark Higgs (79*).

The New South Welshmen have headed to tea on the fourth and final day at 3/366 in their second innings, now leading by 3 runs overall after eradicating a first innings deficit of 363 with an effort based on tremendous perseverance and concentration.

It has taken a marathon exhibition by both Bevan and Higgs to guide the Blues into their new-found position of safety. Aside from batting together for the entirety of the day's opening two sessions, the two players have also registered the state's highest fourth wicket partnership against Western Australia, clinically overhauling the previous best of 155 recorded by Mark Waugh and Mark O'Neill in the early 1990s.

Bevan is also on the verge of other significant milestones. Apart from being well on his way to surpassing his highest first-class score of 203, he is now within ten runs of supplanting Alan Kippax as the most prolific scorer of first-class runs for New South Wales. It's also interesting to note that, on this very date in the calendar - 12 years ago to the day, to be precise - Bevan made 114 to register a century on first-class debut for South Australia.

Higgs has also been richly rewarded for his discipline, posting his highest first-class score against Western Australia.

Warriors' captain Simon Katich has continued to change his bowlers frequently all the while in a hope of making the critical breakthrough. The middle session of the day even featured his own introduction into the attack with his left arm chinaman bowling skills.

Paceman Jo Angel has remained the pick of the bowlers but even he is finding the task of beating the bat a difficult one.


New South Wales has made an excellent start to the final day of this very important battle for second place on the Pura Cup table against Western Australia here at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.

At lunch, the Blues are at 3/264 - captain Michael Bevan (129*) and Mark Higgs (25*) having defiantly batted through the entire morning session.

Lightning lit up Sydney's grey skies earlier in the morning but play commenced on time. And, though the Western Australians would have been happy to see the poor weather go away, they didn't have as much joy with Bevan and Higgs.

Bevan took some time to reach yet another SCG century, taking 306 minutes in total to complete the milestone. The left hander faced 238 balls in that time, and partner Higgs was just as cognisant of the need purely to occupy the crease, devoting 42 minutes and 31 deliveries to the task of securing his first runs of the innings.

As the pair prolonged New South Wales' go-slow act from yesterday, so they continued to leave almost all of the Warriors bowlers with wonderful economy rates. The numbers in the wickets column were not nearly so heartening from a Western Australian point of view, though, and the match accordingly looks to be heading toward the status of a draw.

Jo Angel (0/40), Brad Williams (1/64) and Matthew Nicholson (0/37) have all bent their backs well in the opening session and each created some half-chances before their captain, Simon Katich, elected to increasingly shuffle the attack in the quest for an elusive fourth wicket.

During the morning's proceedings, Katich used each of six bowlers - Angel, Williams, Nicholson, Marcus North (1/34), Bradley Hogg (1/31) and Kade Harvey (0/56). All bowlers went without luck, though Angel was probably the most unfortunate of all having secured an edge from Bevan's bat that was grassed by wicketkeeper Ryan Campbell.

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Date-stamped : 17 Dec2001 - 14:42