Sheffield Shield 2015-16

History to be made in NZ on Wednesday

NSW and Western Australia to play historic Sheffield Shield match on New Zealand's south island

Cricket Network

02 February 2016, 05:18 PM

The humble surrounds of Bert Sutcliffe Oval on New Zealand's south island will be the scene for a slice of Australian cricket history this week.

Starting on Wednesday, the NSW Blues will do battle with Western Australia at the picturesque venue in Lincoln, just outside of Christchurch, the first time in the 123-year history of Australian domestic cricket that a match has been played on foreign soil.

The four-day Sheffield Shield fixture will feature three members of Australia's Test squad for the upcoming series against the Black Caps - Adam Voges, Nathan Lyon and Peter Nevill - and the match will provide the trio with some much-needed practice in New Zealand conditions.

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While the hit-out will be critical for the Test trio as they look to get acclimatised to conditions across the Tasman, it will also be an important showdown in the run towards the Sheffield Shield final.

The two teams are currently separated by less than three points of the Shield ladder and a victory for either side here will keep pressure on Victoria and South Australia, who are currently separated by just 0.66 of a point at the top of the table. 

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"(It's) a very important game in terms of the Shield competition," said Voges, who last week was crowned Australia's Domestic Cricketer of the Year for 2015.

"I’d like to score some runs. It’s a great opportunity to adapt to the conditions over here.

"From a batting point of view, the more runs I can score this week obviously the better I’ll feel going into the Test series.

"My sole focus will be trying to get some points for WA this week."

Cricket Australia says the historic match is the latest step in their push to take domestic cricket beyond the traditional Australian venues.

"We regularly look at opportunities to take the game to areas outside of Australian capital cities," said CA's Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary. 

"This Sheffield Shield season will see a range of different venues used including Mackay, Coffs Harbour, Alice Springs and Lincoln in New Zealand.

"It’s an important part of our efforts to give Australian players opportunities in different conditions that will hopefully prepare them better for international cricket."

While New Zealand participated in Australia's domestic one-day competition between 1969-70 and 1974-75 - winning the title three times - they never played a match at home, making this week's game an Australian first.

Both NSW and WA will be without some of their key international players, who are also in New Zealand for the three-match Chappell Hadlee ODI series against the Black Caps, which also starts on Wednesday.

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The Warriors will be without brother Shaun and Mitchell Marsh while the Blues are missing Steve Smith, David Warner and Josh Hazlewood.

Cameron Bancroft returns to the WA side following his international debut on Sunday night, while wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman will take the gloves in his return from a finger injury.

Spinner Steve O'Keefe will miss the match for the Blues with a calf injury, while paceman Gurinder Sandhu has been omitted

SQUADS

WA: Adam Voges (captain), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Will Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright, Michael Hogan, Michael Klinger, David Moody, Joel Paris, Nathan Rimmington, Ashton Turner, Jonathan Wells, Sam Whiteman.

NSW: Nic Maddinson (captain), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Trent Copeland, Ed Cowan, Daniel Hughes, Josh Lalor, Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Will Somerville