Queensland 6 for 331 (Labuschagne 167, Street 54) lead Tasmania 250 by 81 runs
Marnus Labuschagne picked up his prolific form from the last Australian season with his highest Sheffield Shield score to put Queensland in command against Tasmania as he was well supported by Bryce Street and Matt Renshaw.
Tasmania were left to rue a wasteful morning session where their fielding could not support some challenging pace bowling as Labuschagne was given three lives – including two in one over against Jackson Bird – after Peter Siddle had removed Joe Burns early to claim his first wicket for the state.
Queensland scored at barely more than a run an over during the first part of the morning session, but their early repelling of Tasmania’s strong pace attack would bring rewards later and the second two sessions brought 259 runs from 64 overs.
Labuschagne was 12 off 43 balls when the over began against Bird during which he would be spilled twice – both tough chances to second slip and midwicket – and by lunch, when he later revealed he opted to change to a lighter bat, had himself a foundation. His scoring rate continued to pick up during the afternoon and he went to tea on 97, bringing up his century shortly after the interval off 151 balls – his second fifty taking just 51 deliveries.
“I thought I was quite scratchy to about 30, I didn’t feel like I was batting that well but after lunch it all came together,” he said. “I changed to a much lighter bat, every time I tried to drive it I just nicked it so I was like, that one’s gone.”
It was his fifth Shield century but first since March 2018, since when he had made nine other first-class hundreds: five for Glamorgan and four for Australia. He converted into 167 before finally being extracted late in the late by a terrific yorker from Beau Webster, who was the fielder involved in two of the chances missed, operating in his medium-pace mode.
Street was a vital partner in laying Queensland’s strong position as he, too, picked up from last season where he faced more deliveries in the Sheffield Shield than anyone else during a hugely impressive first summer. That doggedness was again on display as he took 87 balls to reach double figures but knew the value of putting miles in the bowlers’ legs.
His half-century came from 173 balls before he fell to a Riley Meredith short delivery which he top-edged to long leg and briefly Tasmania threatened to bring themselves back into the contest when Nathan Ellis won an lbw decision against Usman Khawaja. As with several decisions against him last year, Khawaja did not look too impressed.
Renshaw, recast as a middle-order batsman, joined in a stand of 125 with the increasingly expansive Labuschagne which took Queensland into the lead. The breakthrough came against the run of play when Renshaw was run out by a direct hit from Webster at cover – a tight call for the on-field umpire – but despite also seeing the back of Labuschagne, Tasmania still faced conceding a hefty lead.
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