The Sheffield Shield got back underway this week after a Christmas break which saw the players enjoy the shorter form of the game in the shape of the Big Bash.
Queensland (QLD) beat Tasmania (TAS) by 133 runs at the Brisbane Cricket Ground thanks to Chris Hartley and a mammoth first innings total – the win giving the Bulls their third Shield win and sending TAS bottom.
QLD captain Hartley won the toss and decided to bat first at the BCG – a decision which proved fruitful for him as his side piled on the runs to make 405.
Hartley himself was one of the mainstays of the innings, scoring an unbeaten 102, though Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne also weighed in with 83 and 60 respectively.
It was tough work for the TAS bowlers but Cameron Stevenson and Andrew Perrin retained some pride, both taking three wickets, Perrin making his first class debut.
In reply TAS stuttered to 200 all out as the QLD bowling attack tore into the middle order. Michael Neser and Mark Steketee both took three wickets and Cameron Gannon picked up 2-26. Tasmanian skipper and Aussie star George Bailey showed his class, battling to 55, but other than Simon Milenko who made 42, no one else made contributions of note.
With a first innings lead of 205, QLD came out in their second innings looking to make quick runs – and they did just that thrashing their way to 146/6 before declaring.
Labuschagne again played well for 31, but it was Sam Truloff who caught the eye, making 44 off 33 balls. Perrin again performed well on debut to take 2-18 and Beau Webster took 2-37.
So, needing an unlikely 351 for victory TAS were ultimately made to pay for their poor first innings score as they were bowled out for 218 – 133 runs short of their target.
Milenko again gave it his best shot making 68, and Stevenson popped up with 42 down the order but it was not enough as QLD won their third Shield match thanks to wickets from Neser, Jack Wildermuth and Jason Floros.
QLD’s skipper has been the form man in his sides’ stop-start season so far. Hartley has been consistent throughout and has 374 Shield runs to his name at 74.8 – having only been out on five occasions in 12 innings. As well as that the 34-year-old already has 24 catches behind the stumps so far.