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Redbacks can win Shield: Ferguson

By AAP .
11 December 2013 05:27PM EST

SOUTH Australia batsman Callum Ferguson declared the Redbacks had finally developed some backbone after surging to the top of the Sheffield Shield ladder.

The Redbacks overcame an early scare as Ferguson steered the visitors to a six-wicket victory over NSW at the SCG, hitting a composed, unbeaten 45 to reach 4-100 before lunch on day four.

Chasing a meagre victory target of 96, the Redbacks slumped to be 3-6 following sharp spells from Sean Abbott (3-42) and Trent Copeland (1-13).

It was the sort of situation in which previous Redbacks sides would have folded, Ferguson argues.

But after being in a position to win all three domestic competitions last year, and failing to make a single final, Ferguson believes a hardened attitude has changed their fortunes and made them a Shield-winning proposition.

"I 100 per cent believe that," Ferguson said.

"...We came up against a very good side here over the last four days and there were moments when they got on top of us.

"But what I saw was something that probably previous Redbacks sides didn't have - and that was the backbone to turn the game on its head when it looked doom and gloom."

The match turned late on day one when the Redbacks took 7-115 to bowl NSW out for 373 when it looked as though the home side was well on top following a wicketless middle-session.

"I thought the middle session could've been a breaking point for previous Redbacks' sides," he said.

"That was a real sign for us that we're a much improved side on two or three years ago."

The win leaves the Redbacks alone in top spot on 22 points, ahead of NSW on 18, heading into the Big Bash League break.

Ferguson, who added 80 in the first innings, put on an unbeaten 69-run partnership with skipper Johan Botha (27 not out) to ice the match in somewhat unusual circumstances.

With the scores level, a Ben Rohrer delivery beat the edge of Botha's bat, then the gloves of wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, before crashing into a helmet behind the stumps - resulting in five penalty runs.

Earlier, the young allrounder Abbott snared three wickets in an eight-over spell to spark hopes of a dramatic fightback.

He removed openers Michael Klinger (2) and first innings centurion Phil Hughes (2) while Copeland had Travis Head caught in the slips for a duck.

"The improvement in him has been fantastic," Bayliss said of Abbott, who has 17 wickets this season.

"From a bowling point of view he's really kicked a goal, he's been one of the finds for us this season."

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