New South Wales’s inexperienced middle-order came to the rescue on day one of the crucial final-round Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart.
The visitors ended the day at 7-311 after creaking at 5-189, having been sent in to bat on a Bellerive Oval pitch that produced plenty of runs last week.
The Blues went into the contest with a grip on second and knowing victory was essential if they are to hold off a fast-finishing Western Australia and feature in next week’s final against Victoria.
Highly-rated youngster Jason Sangha hit a polished 37, while teenager Jack Edwards contributed a hard-hitting 44 as the Blues avoided a potentially disastrous collapse.
“They were pretty good conditions to bowl in,” said Hughes.
“Our middle order was a bit loose there in the middle of the day, but we pulled a bit of momentum back with those partnerships.”
It was a rollercoaster day for NSW against a side whose Shield campaign effectively ended with defeat against Western Australia last week.
NSW’s openers put on 99 for the first wicket thanks to Daniel Hughes (61) and Nick Larkin (67), before wickets started to fall at regular intervals.
Kurtis Patterson, who assumed the captaincy in place of the absent Peter Nevill, went for 14, while Moises Henriques was out for 10, both to the bowling of returning paceman Simon Milenko (2-39).
Leading Shield wicket-taker Jackson Bird also made an impression for the Tigers with figures of 3-71.
New Blues’ batsman Nick Bertus was out for 17, while wicketkeeper Baxter Holt, another debutant, remains at the crease on 11, with Trent Copeland on 30.
The pair came into the side in place of Nevill, who is attending the birth of his first child, and spinner Steve O’Keefe following a hamstring strain suffered in the defeat against Victoria last week.