Welcome to our live report for the opening day of the Sheffield Shield final between Queensland and defending champions New South Wales at Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Join us for updates throughout the day.
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4.30pm: Closing stages
New South Wales have made a breakthrough, Josh Hazlewood finding the edge of Joe Burns with a terrific delivery, but they are desperate to strike again in the final period of the day. Nathan Lyon has found some big spin early in his spell and Trent Copeland has challenged Marnus Labuschagne.
3.50pm: Starc strains for a breakthrough
The Queensland openers, Bryce Street and Joe Burns, have repelled the early exchanges against the new ball. Street has stood up against Mitchell Starc with the pair sharing a few words after the batter was struck on the chest. There have been a few near-misses – Trent Copeland nearly struck first ball when he squared up Burns – but New South Wales have not yet been rewarded. They need something soon.
3.00pm: New South Wales 143 all out
A superb performance from Michael Neser and Jack Wildermuth has given Queensland control of the final. Neser took the final two wickets after tea to finish with 5 for 27. New South Wales will need to make inroads through the rest of the final session to get themselves back into the game. Having seen the success of the Queensland attack, Josh Hazlewood is the type of bowler who could be a considerable handful if he gets things right.
2.10pm: Tea – New South Wales 8 for 123
It’s not looking great for the visitors on the opening day. Jack Wildermuth ended the afternoon session with two wickets in two balls by removing Mitchell Starc and Sean Abbott. It will be down their bowling attack (a very strong one, it must be said) to keep them in the game.
Here’s Dan Brettig on the day so far
There was always a gambling element to the youthful batting lineup selected by NSW for the Sheffield Shield final, betting on talent over experience to generate enough runs against Queensland. As the Blues ran into enormous trouble on the first afternoon at Allan Border Field, limping into tea at 8 for 123, the balance of the side was cause for some reflection. In several ways, the Blues’ young bats were unable to deal with the pressure of the bowling and the vagaries of a crusty pitch. Matt Gilkes misjudged Michael Neser and was bowled shouldering arms; Jason Sangha’s flying start was ended when he chose the wrong ball to pull; Jack Edwards drove unwisely at a tempting Neser away drifter, and Baxter Holt hung his bat out in a fashion he won’t want to look at on too many replays. With Daniel Hughes and Kurtis Patterson unable to go on to truly substantial scores, it added up to a world of pain for the visitors, even as Mitchell Swepson stood wicketless.
12.55pm: Michael Neser, again
Is there a player more unlucky to not yet have played a Test than Michael Neser? He is such a consistent performer for Queensland and his post-lunch spell has put them in control with him quickly adding the scalp of Jack Edwards to that of Jason Sangha. He has been a regular part of Australia squads for the last two years but hasn’t yet been able to crack into the XI. There’s an argument to say that the selectors should look beyond outright pace, especially on certain pitches. After this match he’s off for a spell with Glamorgan in county cricket where he’s sure to be a threat.
12.35pm: Sangha throws it away
There had been a hint of New South Wales putting the pressure back on Queensland after lunch with a little flurry of boundaries with Jason Sangha, who scored a century in the previous Shield match, being especially positive as he moved along at better than a run-a-ball. However, he then made a costly error when he took on a short delivery from Michael Neser and toe-ended a catch into the leg side to reinvigorate the home side with the ball still moving around.
11.30am: Lunch – New South Wales 2 for 54
It’s been a tense morning at Allan Border Field with New South Wales doing well to be just two down. And there was a touch of controversy with the second wicket with Jack Wildermuth mighty close to a no-ball. Here’s Dan Brettig with a view of session:
An enigmatic surface made for an absorbing start to the Sheffield Shield final. Typically known for being flat as concrete, AB Field this time offered a pitch that was both extremely dry but also offering some green grass. The result was a generous helping of sideways seam movement with the new ball, well exploited by Michael Neser to bowl Matt Gilkes shouldering arms, and very nearly followed up by Jack Wildermuth having Daniel Hughes taken behind – only to see the low edge narrowly missed by a diving Jimmy Peirson. More intrigue was created by a couple of puffs of dust as balls appeared to go through the top of the surface, and there were signs of spin in Mitch Swepson’s exploratory couple of overs before lunch. Whatever happens, the pitch already looks like it will produce a result inside five days.
10.25am: What role for spin?
The Queensland seamers have been excellent so far, but this match also features the two best spinners in Australia: Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson. We’ve already seen one delivery disturb the surface, albeit from a short length, which suggests there will be something for the spinners later.
Lyon has been doing his stuff for seasons, but this summer has been very significant in Swepson’s development – it looked like he was done for the season with a neck injury but has made a timely recovery and in Wollongong earlier this month produced a delivery Shane Warne would have been proud of.
Dan Brettig looks at Swepson’s development and what it could mean for Australia
Usman Khawaja explains how Mitchell Swepson became a banker for Queensland
10.00am: Early challenge against the new ball
It’s been a demanding start for the New South Wales top order against the new ball in the hands of Michael Neser and Jack Wildermuth. Neser has provided the first breakthrough when Matthew Gilkes shouldered arms and lost his off stump – it was a beautiful set-up from Neser who had been moving the ball away from the left hander. There has been nibble on offer for both bowlers.
9.30am: Play underway
A nervy start from New South Wales in the opening. Daniel Hughes gets an inside edge into the vacant short leg area then Matthew Gilkes would have been run out with a direct hit. Will be interesting to see how much movement there is with the new ball due to the earlier start.
9.15am: The talking points
New South Wales almost have Australia’s Test attack for this match (just missing Pat Cummins who is at the IPL) but there batting has a far more inexperienced look after changes were made following the 32 all out against Tasmania. However, there are already signs that was the right move. Dan Brettig takes a look at the future.
“The New South Wales selectors had already shown some degree of interest in the future arc of the national team by elevating Pat Cummins to the domestic limited-overs captaincy ahead of Smith. It was a call effectively indicating their preference for who they would like to see named national captain whenever the time comes for Tim Paine to surrender his post – most likely after next summer’s Ashes series, as commentary roles and the release of a memoir await him.
“At the same time, the Tasmania defeat forced a pivot to a far more less experienced batting line-up for the final Shield game against Queensland with a place in the final still to secure. Out went Larkin, Solway and Nevill; in came Matthew Gilkes, Jack Edwards, Lachlan Hearne and Baxter Holt as wicketkeeper. Of this group, Edwards (to turn 21 on the final day of the final) has already been heavily invested in, while Hearne (20) and Holt (21) have been growing ever more impatient for chances to show their wares.”
9.00am: The final act
It’s been a long season – the longest ever – and we’ve reached the final game. Who will take the Sheffield Shield title? It should be a terrific contest with a host of international players on show across both sides.
The early news from Allan Border Field is that New South Wales have won the toss and will bat
Queensland 1 Bryce Street, 2 Joe Burns, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Usman Khawaja (capt), 5 Matt Renshaw, 6 Jimmy Peirson (wk), 7 Jack Wildermuth, 8 Michael Neser, 9 Xavier Bartlett, 10 Mitch Swepson, 11 Brendan Doggett
New South Wales 1 Daniel Hughes, 2 Matthew Gilkes, 3 Kurtis Patterson (capt), 4 Jason Sangha, 5 Jack Edwards, 6 Sean Abbott, 7 Baxter Holt (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Trent Copeland, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Want to know how things are decided if it’s draw…here are the details
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo