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NSW eye momentum as Shield final looms

By AAP Newswire

NSW paceman Trent Copeland has hailed the depth of the Blues squad after a much-changed line-up conjured a final-session win over South Australia and almost certainly a spot in next month's Sheffield Shield final.

Copeland was front and centre as South Australia lost 6-25 to be dismissed for 269, leaving NSW 133-run victors at Bankstown Oval.

Despite victory not coming until the final hour, NSW had the match in control for most of the four days.

With two rounds remaining, they have a massive lead at the top of the standings and only a miraculous series of bonus-point results could tip them out of the season decider.

The Blues not only bounced back from last week's home defeat against Victoria but their win over the Redbacks was achieved without key personnel.

Aside from a galaxy of stars on international duty on in South Africa, the Blues had to make do without experienced batsman Moises Henriques and Kurtis Patterson on Australia A duty.

"It was a really big win in the context of our season, particularly given our loss against Victoria," said Copeland.

"It was up to the likes of Daniel Hughes and myself to step-up in the absence of senior players.

"It is a massive result for us."

And step-up they did. Hughes bagged a pair of centuries for the first time in his first class career, including a career-best 136 in the second innings.

Copeland ran through the lower order on day four just as SA looked like they might hold on for a draw.

The 33-year-old collected 4-60 to go with his first innings' 5-63, bowling a marathon 53 overs in the process.

Half centuries from Callum Ferguson (82), Travis Head (57) and Tom Cooper (62) had the Redbacks on target for an unlikely win at one stage.

"Callum Ferguson and Tom Cooper were incredible," Copeland said.

"It was hard trying to stop them and to get those breakthroughs that (fast bowler) Liam Hatcher got were massive.

"On a pretty docile surface, we managed to find a way to get 20 wickets and that is pretty special."

Despite defeat for South Australia, losses for Queensland and Western Australia have created a logjam on the Shield table leaving the fifth-placed Redbacks' campaign still alive.

With a record of six wins from eight outings, NSW will travel to Tasmania and Western Australia seeking to maintain momentum.

"We have had changing teams with national selections and the like," Copeland said.

"It is always a challenge for NSW cricket but we pride ourselves on being good no matter who is playing.

"The beauty is the depth of our squad and no matter who comes up against us, they know they are up for a challenge."