Wes Agar rattles Queensland after Michael Neser hits South Australia with five-for
StumpsQueensland 3-70 (Burns 39, Agar 3-6) trail South Australia 221 (Andrews 78, Cooper 69, Neser 5-56) by 151 runs
Australia's selection chairman Trevor Hohns saw more wickets fall in a single day of Queensland's meeting with South Australia at the Gabba than he had for the entirety of the previous match he had witnessed, the four-day batathon between the Redbacks and Victoria on a piece of prime Melbourne roadway at Junction Oval.
Nevertheless, the greater amount of action enabled by a good and bouncy but by no means spiteful first-day Brisbane surface presented Hohns with little by way of helpful information so far as the prospects of the players he was primarily at the Gabba to see ahead of the first home Test of the summer, against Pakistan next month, was concerned.
None of Travis Head (a 25-ball duck), Alex Carey (14), Joe Burns (39), Matt Renshaw (18) or Usman Khawaja (2) were able to stand firm for more than a fleeting period against the moving ball. Indeed, Carey's contrivance to be bowled behind his pads when trying to paddle sweep Marnus Labuschagne in the last over of the morning session might well have caused Hohns to drop his cup of tea or fumble his lunch.
Instead, this was a day for Michael Neser, his strong domestic record bolstered further by plenty of top-level experience gained on the recent Ashes tour, Tom Cooper, Tom Andrews and, in the dying evening light, an incisive late spell from Wes Agar on his Shield debut for South Australia. Winning lbw verdicts against Burns and Khawaja either side of snaffling Renshaw via Carey's outstanding legside catch, Agar ensured the Redbacks a solid share of the day's honours, something a long way from their grasp when the first half hour saw three wickets go down for seven.
Head had chosen to bat first on a sunny day, only to see the young opener Henry Hunt fail to survive the first over of the match as Neser seamed one back in between bat and pad to flick the top of the off stump. Jake Lehmann, an inventive choice at No. 3 for the visitors in the prevailing conditions, pushed with hard hands at Neser and was taken by a juggling Cameron Gannon in the gully, before Head's far from comfortable stay ended when he was squared up by Gannon and fenced to a diving debutant Bryce Street in the cordon.
Jake Weatherald had been turfed by Street when firing a cut shot in the air in the second over, and looked the most comfortable of the SA batsmen as he mounted a miniature recovery with Cooper. However, Neser's return brought a ball straightening down the line of the off stump and an lbw that Weatherald appeared more or less resigned to even before the umpire raised his finger.
Carey looked at ease until the last over before lunch, and conditions were far more comfortable for batting as Cooper and Andrews staged an 89-run reprise of their big stand at the Junction, only this time in far more meritorious circumstances. Their half-centuries, while not enough to prevent Neser from scooping up 5 for 56, allowed SA to scramble to 221, a defensible tally if the visiting seamers bowled well.
Nick Winter and the returning Chadd Sayers did so, the latter running numerous away swingers past the outside edge of Burns' bat, but it took Agar's introduction to bring wickets, his heavy ball and angle into the batsmen providing a useful contrast to the new ball pair.
Burns departed lbw with what looked like more than a few words exchanged as the South Australians celebrated, and neither Renshaw nor Khawaja were any happier to depart before stumps when they had the chance to make valuable runs directly observed by Hohns, who with Justin Langer will be chiefly responsible for choosing the Test team.