Agar strike give Warriors new belief
Ashton Agar. Pic: Getty Images

Western Australia will play NSW in next week's Sheffield Shield final despite losing to the Blues earlier today.

NSW held on for a nail-biting three-wicket victory over WA to secure a home final, starting next Friday in Canberra.

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But Queensland's inability to beat Victoria at the MCG means the Warriors still go through.

Victoria batted out the final day to finish on 2-314 to clinch a draw, with Rob Quiney's unbeaten 143 crucial in WA reaching their first shield final for 15 years.

The match at Manuka Oval looked all but over until two-Test tweaker Ashton Agar jagged the key wicket of NSW skipper Steve Smith (89) on the stroke of lunch to keep WA in the hunt.

The key dismissal reduced NSW to 7-188, leaving their tail-enders with the nerve-wracking task of scraping together 24 runs on a tricky fourth day pitch.

NSW started their final day with a tricky 110-run chase with eight wickets in hand on an unpredictable fourth day Manuka Oval wicket.

Smith was on track to see his side all the way to victory in the Manuka Oval nail-biter before holing out to Jason Behrendorff at long-on from the bowling of Agar (2-64) on the third last ball before lunch.

The Test hero had been viciously attacking Agar, and had hit a big six down the ground off his bowling the previous over.

Earlier in the day, the Warriors got off to the best possible start, dismissing both Ben Rohrer (15) and Kurtis Patterson (1) cheaply.

Warriors part-time spinner Marcus North (3-61) was getting great purchase on the fourth day deck, dismissing all-rounder Sean Abbott (4) not long after wicket-keeper Peter Neville (3) was sent packing.

And while Smith found a reliable partner in Stephen O’Keefe (31 not out), the temptation to finish the game quickly off Agar, who took a five-wicket haul in the first innings, almost came back to bite the Blues.

But O’Keefe and Australian Test spinner Nathan Lyon (8) held their nerve, chasing down the remainder of the 212-run total just seven overs after lunch.

The West Australian

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