Burns scored 171 out of 275 as Queensland were bowled out 57 runs behind Tasmania
Tasmania 332 (Jewell 140, Doggett 4-88) & 0 for 7 lead Queensland 275 (Burns 171, Webster 4-50) by 64 runs
Queensland opener Joe Burns has shaken off a horror season with the bat to produce one of his finest Sheffield Shield innings, scoring 171 out of a total of 275 to keep the visitors in the game on day two against Tasmania at Bellerive Oval.
Burns made 171 from 217 balls with 19 fours and three sixes when only two other Queensland batsmen reached double figures as the Bulls were bowled out 57 runs behind Tasmania’s first innings total of 332. Beau Webster was the unlikely hero with the ball for the Tigers, bagging 4 for 50 with his medium pace.
It was Burns’ 19th first-class century and the fifth time he passed 150. The innings broke one of the worst form slumps of his career. In his previous 13 first-class innings this season, including two Tests against India, Burns had made just 125 runs and reached double figures just four times, including an unbeaten 51 against India in the first Test in Adelaide.
But he was near flawless on a day when all his team-mates bar Marnus Labuschagne struggled. He produced trademark pull shots and square drives against the quicks and some powerful slog sweeps against Jarrod Freeman’s off-spin. He held the innings together after Queensland suffered a huge collapse midway through the day.
Burns and Labuschagne put on 115 for the second wicket following the early loss of Bryce Street and looked on track to set up a first-innings lead. But Labuschagne was given out lbw to Nathan Ellis for 49. The ball struck Labuschagne high and appeared to be sliding down the leg side.
The lbw decision triggered a collapse with Webster ripping through the middle order. Having only added seam-up to his bowling repertoire in the off-season after previously bowled just off-spin, he nicked off Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw with balls that seamed across the left-handers and then pinned Jack Wildermuth on the toe with a yorker. The Bulls lost 6 for 37 in the middle session and looked in danger of being bowled out for under 200.
But Burns found an ally in Xavier Bartlett who contributed a useful 24 and helped Burns reach his century just after tea. The pair shared a 63-run stand before Bartlett holed out to mid off. Burns was then able to add 51 more runs to the total with the help of Matt Kuhnemann and Brendan Doggett as Tasmania put nearly everyone back on the fence. Burns holed out with six overs left in the day leaving Tasmania’s openers with a tricky period to get through. But Jordan Silk and Charlie Wakim negotiated the last four overs without incident.
Earlier in the day, Doggett picked up two of the last three wickets in Tasmania’s first innings to bowl the hosts out for 332. Doggett finished with 4 for 88 as Caleb Jewell chopped on for 140 and Jackson Bird holed out at deep midwicket for an entertaining 19.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne