Pointless NSW Blues focus on positives after Sheffield Shield loss to Redbacks

NSW believe they have built a solid platform from which to launch at the Shield title despite relinquishing top spot with a loss to South Australia on Wednesday.

The Blues were beaten but not disgraced, sending shockwaves through the Redbacks dressing room after triggering a dramatic top-order batting collapse but ultimately they found the paltry target of 96 too small to defend.

The Redbacks were reeling at 3-6 after Phillip Hughes's dismissal and in further trouble at 4-31 after losing Tom Cooper but found the line with six wickets to spare thanks to a composed 45 from Callum Ferguson.

The Blues emerged from the game without a point and are now four points behind new leader SA as the competition takes a break to accommodate the Big Bash.

The match finished in bizarre circumstances when the part-time medium pace of Ben Rohrer beat both Johan Botha and wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and struck a helmet, resulting in five penalty runs.

The Blues made good their vow of making SA earn the points but were ruing collapses on the first and third days - the latter resulting in second innings total of 148 which swung the game firmly in the Redbacks' favour.

Such was the deterioration of the pitch even a target between 150-200 could have been defendable.

The Blues quicks were able to capitalise on the variable bounce, which proved most unpredictable against the new ball.

Some deliveries would rise sharply off a good length while others landing in a similar area would scoot through low - as Phillip Hughes found out.

Although Trent Copeland finished claimed the most wickets in the game for the Blues, coach Trevor Bayliss believed Sean Abbott was the team's best bowler in the game.

He claimed three wickets during SA's run chase, including that of former Test batsman Hughes, and bowled well in tandem with the team's workhorse Copeland.

"Those two guys together form a great partnership, one keeping it tight and nipping away and the other running in and being aggressive," Bayliss said.

"Without Doug Bollinger here for this game Abbott had to take it on by himself where in previous games Dougy's led the way."

Bayliss said his team had been guilty of inconsistency at times this season but could not fault their spirit or attitude.

"That's one thing we've spoken about, keeping ourselves in the fight," Bayliss said.

"We've had two wins but the other four games we've been in a position where we haven't been too far away from six points.

"A little bit more consistency in a couple of areas in one or two areas and we could quite easily have taken six points.

"We want to hit the ninth and 10th game playing at the top of our game and hopefully into a final. If you're doing that you give yourself a chance of winning."

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