Day 1

Day 1 of the first Marsh Sheffield Shield match of 2021 arguably belonged to Caleb Jewell and the Tasmanian Tigers.

Queensland won the toss and sent the home side into bat, and initially it looked like a winning decision, with opener Charlie Wakim, bowled by Mark Steketee in the first over.

The Tigers rallied their patience however, with the likes of Jewell, Mac Wright and Jarrod Freeman keen to impress in their recalls to the side in the absence of the likes of Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott and Riley Meredith, who are all in New Zealand on international duties.

Wright made a relatively quick 22 off 44 balls, but Jewell was the star of the day, translating his scintillating form from club to the first class level.  The Bulls gave Jewell a couple of lives, dropping him on both 50 and 61, but on top of the five centuries he’s made for North Hobart so far this season, Jewell added a sixth; his maiden at first class level.

The day didn’t all go Tasmania’s way, with the highlight for Queensland arguably being the debut of Matt Kuhnemann, who – for his maiden first class wicket – dismissed Australian Test captain, Tim Paine, for 20, with a spectacular caught and bowled.  Kuhnemann was also the most economical of the Bulls’ bowlers for the day, finishing with an economy rate of 2.28 off his 18 overs.

However, at stumps Tasmania finished at 7-293, with Jewell still at the crease – unbeaten on 131 off 227 ball – accompanied by Nathan Ellis, unbeaten on 15.

Day 2

The clash between Tasmania and Queensland is evenly poised at the end of Day 2, largely thanks to a mighty century from Bulls’ opener, Joe Burns.

Whist the Day 1 hero in Caleb Jewell got some nice shots away early – aptly aided by Nathan Ellis (21 off 33) and Jackson Bird (19 off 12) – Jewell’s dismissal on 140 saw the Tigers innings come to a close within the first hour of play on Day 2.  Brendan Doggett turned out to be instrumental with the ball for the visitors, claiming the scalps of both Jewell and Bird and finishing with figures of 4-88 off 23.1 overs.

The Tigers then had early success with the ball, with Bird claiming the wicket of Bulls’ opener, Bryce Street, in the sixth over for just two runs.  However, when Marnus Labuschange joined Joe Burns at the crease, the Australian test duo built a seemingly unbreakable partnership to guide the visitors to 1-73 come lunch.

Tasmania managed to stem the flow of runs in the middle session, with Ellis getting the breakthrough with the wicket of Labuschange, trapping him LBW for 49.  From there the Tigers looked unstoppable, skittling the Bulls middle order by taking 5-29 and leaving them sitting at 7-163 at tea.

Stranded on 97* at the final break in play for the day, Queensland’s tail enders rallied to ensure Burns reached his ton - and then some - in the final session.  When his wicket finally fell for 171, Queensland were all out for 275, but Burns had in the bank a masterful innings, which included 18 fours and three sixes, at an impressive strike rate of 78.8.

Beau Webster was the pick of the bowlers for the Tigers.  After tea – where he had impressive figures of 3-18 off nine overs – he went on to finish with career-best first class figures of 4-50 (off 15.4 overs).

At stumps the Tigers are 0-7 in their second innings, leading Queensland by 64 runs with 10 wickets in hand.  Openers Jordan Silk (1*) and Charlie Wakim (6*) remain at the crease.

Day 3

With just one day of play remaining, Tasmania and Queensland can barely be split in their Marsh Sheffield Shield match at Blundstone Arena.

Starting the day at 0-7, Tasmanian openers Jordan Silk and Charlie Wakim got off to a positive start.  The pair piled on 47 runs together, before Wakim was judged to have edged a Jack Wildermuth delivery to keeper Jimmy Peirson, and was sent back to the sheds for 21.

Silk continued on his merry way, easily reaching his half century before things began to come a little unstuck.  Xavier Barlett swung the momentum in favour of the Bulls when he dismissed Silk for 51 – it would be one of four wickets he would go on to take throughout the innings.

Making amends for his unfortunate dismissing in the first innings, Jake Doran went on to top score for the Tigers’ innings with 55.  However, he also couldn’t turn a promising start into a big score, and became yet another victim of Bartlett.

Tail-enders Jarrod Freeman (38 off 62) and Nathan Ellis (23 off 33) again put in honourable contributions with the bat, however the Bulls managed to dismiss the Tigers with a little over an hour left in the day’s play.  The Tigers were all out for 252, setting the Bulls a target of 310 to win.

At stumps Queensland sit on 0-38, with openers Bryce Street (21*) and Joe Burns (13*) at the crease.

Day 4

The Queensland Bulls have ground out a three-wicket win at Blundstone Arena, led by a stunning captain’s knock from Usman Khawaja.

With then ledger very evenly poised at the start of play, the Tigers got the upper hand early when Jackson Bird bowled Bryce Street in the first over of the day. 

Queensland’s hero from the first innings, Joe Burns, followed six overs later – also a victim of Bird – and things were looking up for the Tigers.  However, with the combined experience of Marnus Labuschagne and Khawaja at the crease, the task was never going to be easy.

The middle session was tough going for both sides, with runs hard to come by and only one wicket to fall; Labuschagne, for a well-made 78.

However, the runs started flowing more freely in the final session of play for the match, with Khawaja notching up his 30th first class ton.  A disciplined Tigers bowling attack gave the Bulls a scare late - Nathan Ellis found himself on a hat trick after bowling Jack Wildermuth (30) and Mark Steketee (0) successively - but unfortunately the total was just too small for the Tigers to defend, with Xavier Bartlett hitting the winning runs in the 98th over of the innings.

Khawaja finished on 115* off 206 deliveries, whilst Burns was named Player of the Match for his 191 runs scored across both innings.

The Tasmanian bowlers shared the spoils around in the second innings, with Bird, Ellis and Beau Webster all taking two apiece.

Both sides will now enjoy a rest day tomorrow, before fronting up to face off once again in a Marsh One-Day Cup fixture on Monday.