Sheffield Shield final: Queensland bowlers Michael Neser and Jack Wildermuth leave the Bulls in commanding position
Michael Neser has further cemented his status as the best Australian bowler yet to play a Test match with a commanding Sheffield Shield final performance for Queensland.
The Bulls are in complete control of the decider after just one day at Allan Border Field, dismissing NSW for a paltry 143.
In reply, the hosts were 1-58 at stumps, with Test star Marnus Labuschagne well set on 23 not out.
While NSW’s much-vaunted pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott and Trent Copeland failed to make decent inroads into Queensland’s batting order, the Bulls’ battery of fast bowlers delivered in spades after the Blues elected to bat first.
Neser was the chief destroyer, finishing with the superb figures of 5-27 off 13.2 overs.
He was well supported by all-rounder Jack Wildermuth, who took 4-21 off 16 overs and was at one stage on a hat-trick.
At 31, Neser remains the unluckiest bowler in Australia not to have played a Test such has been in form in recent seasons.
“This is the third time I’ve been in a final … it’s great exposure,” Neser said.
“I love playing in bigger scenarios like this.”
Michael Neser is applauded by his Queensland teammates at Allan Border Field. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Neser, who overcame a back spasm at the end of the NSW innings, was well pleased with the Bulls being asked to bowl first on a pitch providing an occasional puff of dust.
“Naturally you want to put a big total on the board and put them under pressure that way but that wicket looked a bit wetter than I thought it was going to be and had a bit of nibble to it,” he said.
Neser celebrates with teammates the wicket of Matthew Gilkes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Neser struck in just the fifth over, hitting the top of Matthew Gilkes’ off-stump after the left-handed opener elected not to play a shot.
Gilkes only made three, with his dismissal leaving the visitors at 1-9.
It could have been 2-9 in the next over when Wildermuth drew an edge from the bat of opener Dan Hughes.
Paceman Neser had the NSW batsmen on the back front from the outside.Source:Getty Images
However, Queensland wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson couldn’t hold on to a tough low chance.
Wildermuth and Peirson eventually combined to dismiss Hughes for 19, but it was a close call, with video footage showing Wildermuth was perilously close to delivering a no-ball.
The Blues crawled to 2-54 off 29 overs at lunch before the Bulls grabbed full control of the match in the second session, with the NSW losing 6-69 to be 8-123 at tea.
Neser then cleaned up the tail after tea, with his last scalp Hazlewood falling to spectacular diving catch from Labuschagne.
NSW coach Phil Jaques defended the choice of his captain Kurtis Patterson, who top-scored with 43, to bat first.
“Obviously we would have like a few more runs but I thought it was a really tough pitch and it didn’t seem like any of the batters were really in on it at any stage,” Jaques said.
“We gave them a couple of wickets which was a little bit disappointing but I think it still wasn’t a bad decision to bat first on that wicket.
“ (Neser) had a decent day out and they bowled quite well.”
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