The much-anticipated Marsh Sheffield Shield clash between Queensland and Tasmania finally got underway at Adelaide’s Karen Rolton Oval today, with the first clash of the season for both teams being moved to a neutral venue following cases of community COVID transmission in Brisbane last week.
With the Tigers being led by Beau Webster in the absence of Matthew Wade – who jetted out of Australia today bound for the ICC T20 World Cup – Webster relished his debut wearing the metaphorical captain’s armband, winning the toss and electing to bat.
Arguably the decision that would’ve been made by either captain had they won the toss, a new red ball opening pair of Caleb Jewell and Tim Ward strode to the crease for the Tigers. Despite getting off the mark swiftly, Jewell was soon heading back to the sheds, dismissed for 10 in the fifth over of the day. With Charlie Wakim joining Ward at the crease, the pair steadily piled on another 67 runs, heading to lunch one wicket down.
After surviving a bamboozling spell of bowling from Marnus Labuschagne just before lunch, in the middle session of the day both players relaxed into the crease, both celebrating their half centuries. Unfortunately, a ton wasn’t in Wakim’s future just yet, however, with Mark Steketee claiming his scalp for 62.
In just his second Shield appearance, Ward continued to get more confident as the overs went on, notching up his maiden first class century in the day’s final session of play. Aptly aided by Ben McDermott, the pair piled on a 145-run partnership, with McDermott racing past his half century, before an attempt at a six in the fourth-last over of the day saw him depart for 71.
At stumps, Tasmania sit on 3-285, with Ward on 126*, joined at the crease by nightwatchman, Lawrence Neil-Smith (0*).
Starting where he left off on day 1, Tim Ward led the charge at the crease on day 2, combining with Lawrence Neil-Smith to continue piling on the runs. The pair added an extra 48 runs to their team’s total from stumps on day 1, before nightwatchman, Neil-Smith, fell for 28. Day 1 hero, Ward, followed the next over, for 144 – an incredible effort in just his second appearance at the first class level.
It was captain, Beau Webster, and Jordan Silk, who next combined at the crease, and took the Tigers safely through to lunch. After the break, the pair continued to pile on 89 runs for their partnership, before Webster fell for 39. This only seemed to increase the intensity of Silk’s intent to score. When joined by Mac Wright at the crease, the pairing continued to pile on another 78 runs between them. Sensing a declaration coming from the sheds, Silk made sure triple figures was in his future, finishing with an even 100 runs off 131 balls just before tea.
Silk’s 100* signalled the end of the Tigers innings, declaring at an even 6-500. After the tea break, Queensland openers Bryce Street and Joe Burns strode to the crease, looking forward to batting on an enticing Karen Rolton Oval deck. Jarrod ‘Froggy’ Freeman had other ideas however, claiming the scalp of Burns for 26, thanks to a regulation catch in the field from Neil-Smith.
Neil-Smith also contributed to the final wicket of the day, bowling Australian number three, Marnus Labuschagne for 32.
At stumps, Queensland sit on 2-122 – 378 runs behind the Tigers’ first innings total, with eight wickets in hand.
With the Bulls resuming at 2-122, with captain, Usman Khawaja, and opener, Bryce Street, at the crease, the Tigers got off to a flying start in the first session of the day, with Khawaja falling victim to a spectacular catch from Ben McDermott behind the stumps off the bowling of Sam Rainbird. When Jarrod Freeman trapped Matt Renshaw lbw – collecting his second wicket for the match – the Tigers went to lunch happy with their position, having the Bulls at 4-190.
The middle session of the day was all about the Bulls however, led by Street, who went on to notch up the Bulls first century for the season. Queensland got through the session unscathed, heading to tea at 4-319; a session in which they lost no wickets, and piled on 129 runs.
After tea, the Tigers got their breakthrough, however, with Rainbird claiming the wicket of Street, who departed for an impressive 143. Shortly after - once Jimmy Pierson had also secured his century - the Bulls made a surprising declaration, which, despite declaring behind the Tigers’ first innings total, leaves all three results still possible with one day left to play.
After the Bulls declared at 5-355, Caleb Jewell and Tim Ward made their way to the crease, and with just an hour left in play didn’t muck around, racing away to build a 52-run partnership, before Matt Kuhnemann trapped Jewell lbw for 24.
Again assuming the role of nightwatchman, Lawrence Neil-Smith joined Ward at the crease for the final overs of the day, and at stumps, the Tigers sit on 1-59.
All results were a possibility before play began on day 4 of the Tigers’ Marsh Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland, but it soon became apparent that the Tigers were not prepared to jeopardise a commanding position against the might of a fully stacked Bulls’ side.
With Tim Ward and nightwatchman, Lawrence Neil-Smith, once again beginning the day at the crease, the pair got through the first session unscathed, before Ward fell shortly after lunch for a gallant 81.
Despite being slow off the mark, it was Neil-Smith that took the reins from here, surprising the Queensland bowling attack with some textbook cricket shots on the way to his first first class half century and highest Marsh Sheffield Shield score to boot.
When it became clear that neither side would be able to conjure up a definitive result, both teams shook hands just before the allotted tea break, with the Tigers’ second innings score sitting at 3-196, with Neil-Smith (71*) and Ben McDermott (1*) at the crease.
Ward was named Player of the Match for amassing 225 runs across both innings – a stellar effort in just his second game at first class level.
FULL SCORECARD: cricket.com.au