Marnus goes big in summer statement
Marnus Labuschagne started his summer in style by blasting a 24th first-class century to put Queensland in total control of its Sheffield Shield clash against Tasmania.
The Test superstar, who finished the recent series in Sri Lanka with a century in Galle, powered to his seventh Shield hundred in the past three seasons, the most of any player, in a commanding performance at Allan Border Field.
With Test opener, and Queensland captain, Usman Khawaja moving himself down the order to number four, Labuschagne came to the crease when Matthew Renshaw was out for eight.
Former Test openers were everywhere with another, Joe Burns, combining with Labuschagne for 148 runs before being dismissed for a stoic 85.
But joined by Test teammate Khawaja, Labuschagne put his foot down and raced to triple figures before losing his wicket shortly after tea for 127.
Former Test paceman Peter Siddle claimed Labuschagne’s scalp, trapping him LBW to bring to an end a 234-ball innings that included 19 fours and one six.
New batsman Jack Clayton lasted just three balls before being caught by wicket-keeper Tim Paine off the bowling of Riley Meredith.
It left Queensland at 4-269, 122 runs in front of Tasmania, with Khawaja unbeaten on 42 and Jimmy Peirson yet to score.
Tim Paine has made a mixed return to the Sheffield Shield arena, taking a sharp catch but failing with the bat for a Tasmanian side that struggled against Queensland at Allan Border Field.
Batting at No.7, the veteran wicket-keeper strode to the crease in the 34th over of the innings with the Tigers – who had been sent into bat on Thursday morning by Queensland – in trouble at 5-59.
Paine couldn’t come to Tasmania’s rescue, making just six before edging former Tigers paceman Gurinder Sandhu (2-18) to Matt Renshaw at first slip.
Paine’s dismissal in the 39th over left the Tigers reeling at 6-74.
A fighting 44 from spinner Jarrod Freeman allowed Tasmania to reach 147, with his dismissal off the bowling of Test paceman Michael Neser (3-42) signalling the end of the visitors’ innings.
In reply, the Bulls were 1-70 when bad light forced stumps to be called early.
Joe Burns (35*) and Marnus Labuschagne (26*) were the unbeaten batsmen, with Paine having taken a good catch low to his left to complete the dismissal of opener Renshaw (8) off the bowling of Riley Meredith in the 13th over of the Queensland innings.
“He’s one of the best keepers in the world still and it would be silly not to have him in the side from that aspect,” Freeman said of Paine.
“Having him back is great for the game, especially with what he’s been through.
“It’s good that he’s bounced back and he’s showed that he’s not done yet. He’s actually got something to give.”
Earlier, the returning Paine was greeted with a big hug from Bulls bowing coach and former national selector Andy Bichel after ending his 11-month hiatus from cricket after stepping down from the Australian Test team in November last year following a sexting controversy,
Paine’s return failed to inspire the Tigers, with Neser striking on just the third ball of the day, dismissing Caleb Jewell for a duck after the Tasmanian opener edged a ball into the safe hands of Renshaw at slip.
The visitors then seemed to steady their innings before paceman Mark Steketee struck twice within the space of three overs to leave the Tigers reeling at 3-24.
Opener Tim Ward (15) edged Steketee into the slips where Bulls captain Usman Khawaja took the catch via a deflection off Joe Burns.
Ben McDermott then fell in Steketee’s following over for a duck after edging to wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson.
However, Peirson then blotted his copybook, dropping Jordan Silk down the legside off the bowling of all-rounder James Bazley with Tasmania at 3-44 less than a quarter an hour before lunch.
But Silk (16) fell soon after lunch to Steketee, whose good day continued with a fourth scalp when he had Beau Webster (0) caught behind a few overs later.
Steketee was the pick of the Queensland bowlers, finishing with 4-43 from 17 overs.
“Conditions favoured us bowlers a little bit today, but that boys batted well this arvo,” Steketee said.
Originally published as Test star Marnus Labuschagne made another century for Queensland in a commanding display