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O'Keefe makes strong return for NSW

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Spinner Stephen O'Keefe has given national selectors a timely reminder of his worth this summer with a stirring first-class comeback for NSW in the Sheffield Shield.

On the same day the Test team were battling away against South Africa in Perth, O'Keefe bagged five wickets to limit Western Australia to 216 at the SCG on Friday.

"I couldn't have asked for too much more, getting five-fer in your return game, so I'm pretty happy about that," O'Keefe said.

Warriors spinner Ashton Agar continued a bountiful day for spinners by bewitching Blues opener Ed Cowan (7) into clipping to Cameron Bancroft late in the day.

Dan Hughes (15) and nighwatchman Trent Copeland (0) helped NSW to 1-24 at the close.

O'Keefe's outing came three months after he returned from Australia's tour of Sri Lanka with a hamstring injury, and was then fined $10,000 by Cricket Australia for a drunken incident.

He also suffered a finger issue that forced him to miss the domestic one-day campaign.

However, the left-armer returned with aplomb against Western Australia, combining with spin twin Will Somerville to take nine of the 10 Warriors wickets.

Having claimed the key scalps of opener Cameron Bancroft (22) and Michael Klinger (7) in quick succession earlier in the day, O'Keefe was also the man to end a late-day fightback.

With their team mired in a 6-99 hole, Hilton Cartwright (59) and Ashton Turner (81) combined for a 90-run partnership to help resurrect WA's innings and put them on track for a competitive total.

But just as the Warriors appeared ready to reclaim the ascendancy, O'Keefe returned to trap Cartwright standing in front of his stumps before finishing with 5-65 off 28.3 overs.

Somerville had figures of 4-61 off 22 overs.

"In previous years there's been a lot more grass on it so it's favoured, I think, probably more of the fast bowlers in my history here," O'Keefe said.

"Today it was definitely a little bit drier - that's because of the AFL (season). It's got a little bit of character to it, a bit of spin, which is great.

"Did it surprise me? If it looks that dry, then you are going to get some spin out of it."

After O'Keefe outed Bancroft and Klinger in the space of three overs before lunch, Somerville kept the pressure on by tearing through the middle order in the second session.

Ashton Agar (15), Sam Whiteman (2) and William Bosisto (8) were back in the pavilion before tea, leaving Cartwright and Turner with a tough rebuild.

However, both were up to the task and notched half-centuries in the final session with Cartwright displaying particular patience, taking 161 balls for his 59.

After hitting the Warriors No.4 on his pads, O'Keefe snuffed out the innings by luring Turner into a false shot that was caught by Doug Bollinger at gully.

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