Unlikely centurions dent Qld Shield hopes

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CRICKET SHIELD WA QLD Sam Whiteman

Sam Whiteman scored a century as WA fought to avoid an outright defeat at home to Queensland

An improbable unbeaten century from fast bowler Aaron Hardie helped Western Australia keep their slim Sheffield Shield hopes alive with a draw against Queensland at the WACA, seriously denting the visitors' own final ambitions.

An extraordinary final day ended with Queensland on the back foot despite being on top for almost the entire match.

The Bulls finished a nervy finale at 5-54 hanging on for a draw after closing the shutters early on a run chase of 129 off 17 overs.

Queensland's changed batting line-up lost three wickets in the first four overs and slipped to 4-18 off six as WA chased an implausible win.

Paceman Matthew Kelly (3-11) took the key wickets of Usman Khawaja (2) and Joe Burns (12) in each of his first two overs.

Josh Nicholas chimed in with 2-24 as Queensland suddenly went from the hunter to the hunted.

It was left to Bulls' captain Jimmy Peirson to steady the ship with an unbeaten 17 as the shadows closed nearly an hour after the scheduled finish.

Queensland's failure to win means they slip from second to third, and leaves holders Victoria in prime position for next week's final round in the race to shore up a ticket to the final against runaway leaders NSW.

The draw means WA maintain the slimmest mathematical hope of overhauling Victoria.

Queensland seemed certain to win heading into day four with WA, who resumed at 3-143, finding themselves 6-162 in pursuit of 219 simply to make their opponents bat again.

Dangerman Cameron Green (15), Josh Philippe (2) and Josh Inglis (0) were all sent back to the pavilion during the first session,

But opener Sam Whiteman stood defiant to post just his fourth first class century in his 59th match, with his six-hour knock chewing up 270 balls before he was the seventh wicket to fall with the score on 252.

Hardie proved to be the unlikeliest of saviours.

Playing in his third match the 21-year-old No.8 batted with assurance in hitting 100 not out.

Hardie was in the 70s when the penultimate wicket fell but, along with David Moody, the pair added an invaluable 31 for the last wicket.