Selection flares sent up in Adelaide
On the day a new national cricket selector was announced a couple of Queenslanders put in performances worthy of note.
A career-best 10 wicket haul from Queensland paceman Mark Steketee wouldn’t have been missed by new national selector Tony Dodemaide but wasn’t enough to fully breach a South Australian wall at the Adelaide Oval.
With early season performances in domestic cricket helping push any and all selections claims, Bulls keeper Jimmy Peirson also sent up a flare as a potential Tim Paine replacement with his second hundred in three games as the Sheffield Shield clash finished in an entertaining draw.
Steketee joined a list which includes former Test quick Craig McDermott as one of only five Queenslander to take 10 wickets in a Sheffield Shield match adding three second innings scalps to his seven in the first, finishing with a match haul of 10-92.
He was however, the lone Bulls bowler to find a way through the Redbacks batting line-up which started slowly in what was an unlikely chase for 324 runs for victory.
The chase picked up some steam when Alex Carey (66 not out) and Travis Head tried their luck but the shutters went up when SA lost its fifth wicket.
Some vigorous appeals from Test star Marnus Labuschagne, who has already been fined for similar behaviour this season, were all turned down in a spirited last hour as SA held firm.
The stalemate came after Queensland keeper Peirson took it upon himself to try and take the game forward.
He raced from his overnight score of 89 not out and stormed to his second century this season with some lusty hitting, trying to set a chase for the home team. He was eventually out for 132 off just 155 balls, his dismissal bringing about the Queensland declaration.
Bulls skipper Usman Khawaja earlier finished his epic 294 ball innings on 174, also out on the hunt for quick runs on the final morning.
The match ended with fielders all around Carey and Nathan McAndrew, who took 30 balls to get off the mark in a dour signal the Redbacks didn’t want to lost, as much as they couldn’t win.
When drinks were taken to start the final hour, SA still had 120 runs to get, Queensland five wickets. Neither went close as the batting team dug in, only McAndrew being dismissed.
On day three in Adelaide, Labuschagne exhibited his own grit, hitting just one boundary in his 179-ball stay, which returned 45 runs at a career-low strike rate.
Runs in huge amounts haven’t come for the right-hander, set to bat at number three for Australia when the Ashes begins, with scores of just 32, six and the 45 in his three innings this interrupted season.
But Labuschagne said he wasn’t thinking about the Ashes as he put his head down to dig in for the Bulls.
“I‘m here to win games for Queensland,” he said, having also taken a hefty blow to the groin while batting.
“In this game, it took me putting my head down and grinding until I had nothing left.
“Trying to find a way to stay in the contest and keep the team in the contest, so from a personal perspective it’s whatever the team needs.”
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