Kalgoorlie Miner

Marnus gives Bulls whip hand

- CRICKET

Test No.3 Marnus Labuschagn­e has a double century in sight after Queensland dominated day two of the Sheffield Shield final against NSW in Brisbane yesterday.

The Blues’ star-studded attack only took two wickets for the day as Labuschagn­e struck a chanceless 160 not out to guide the Bulls to 3-286 by stumps, holding an overall lead of 143.

Matt Renshaw is 29no, sharing an unbroken 73-run fourthwick­et stand with Labuschagn­e to put Queensland in the box seat to claim Shield title No.9 and their first since 2017-18.

The Bulls batsmen took charge after Michael Neser (527) and new-ball partner Jack Wildermuth (4-21) routed NSW for 143 on Thursday.

NSW’s Test attack of Mitchell Starc (1-32), Josh Hazlewood (1-35) and off-spinner Nathan Lyon (1-87) were powerless to stop run machine Labuschagn­e.

He brought up his fourth Shield ton of the season — the most centuries in the 2020-21 competitio­n — and eighth overall with a reverse sweep for four off Test teammate Lyon.

Labuschagn­e has struck 19 boundaries in his 284-ball knock, pushing his Shield season run tally to 788 runs at 87.55.

It continues a stellar season which also featured 426 runs at 53.25 in the Test series against India.

After Queensland resumed on Friday at 1-58, Labuschagn­e shared a 126-run second- wicket stand with patient opener Bryce Street (46) to set up a huge first innings lead for the hosts.

Street had lives on 14 and 27 but finally fell after lunch caught behind off Lyon, ending an epic 203-ball knock that featured just five fours.

There was no let-up for the NSW attack with ex-Test batsman Usman Khawaja (23) sharing a 60-run third wicket stand with Labuschagn­e.

IPL duties ensured NSW were without Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, David Warner and Moises Henriques for the Shield final.

But the Blues were still backing themselves to claim consecutiv­e Shield titles for the first time since 1993-94 and a record 48th crown overall with a bowling arsenal also featuring Trent Copeland and Sean Abbott.

However, the Blues now look set to suffer just their second loss in 14 games against Queensland after a nightmare start to the five-day Shield decider.

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Queensland’s Marnus Labuschagn­e is unbeaten on 160.
Picture: AAP Queensland’s Marnus Labuschagn­e is unbeaten on 160.

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