A century from Daniel Hughes was not enough for the NSW Blues to claim victory against South Australia in the JLT One-Day Cup match at compact Hurstville Oval on Friday.
Chasing South Australia’s daunting total of 6-346 the Blues were out for 301, their second loss in three matches.
The Blues, who are chasing a third successive one-day title, meet the Cricket Australia XI at Hurstville Oval in a crucial match on Sunday.
Hughes scored 105 in just 104 balls with seven fours and four sixes.
The Blues suffered an early blow when century maker from the previous match Nic Maddinson was caught behind for just five.
However Hughes and Kurtis Patterson (84 in 88 balls) dominated the South Australian attack.
They took the score from 1-13 to 1-202 before double disaster struck. Hughes was well caught by a diving Cameron Valente at third man and then Patterson was run out next ball attempting a tight single, swinging the match firmly in South Australia’s favour.
Centuries from Jake Weatherall (110 in 114 balls) and Alex Ross (110 in 85 balls) set up South Australia’s challenging target.
NSW captain Peter Nevill made the understandable decision to bowl after winning the toss given grey skies, a fresh pitch and the return of daunting NSW spearhead Mitchell Starc.
However South Australia raced to a 100-run opening partnership in little more than 15 overs before losing its first wicket.
Alex Carey (60 in 55 balls) was bowled by a fine delivery from Sean Abbott which clipped the top of his off stump.
The game changed when Nathan Lyon claimed wickets in successive deliveries, trapping Callum Ferguson (19) and Tom Cooper (0) leg before wicket as South Australia slipped to 3-149.
However, Weatherall and Ross then dominated the innings as NSW put in a mixed bowling and fielding performance.