BRISBANE: A dominant Queensland thrashed New South Wales by an innings and 33 runs to win the Sheffield Shield final on Sunday on the back of Test star Marnus Labuschagne’s high-class 192.

Having bowled the Blues out for 143 on day one at the Allan Border Field, with paceman Michael Neser grabbing 5-27, the Bulls responded with an ominous 389.

Man-of-the-match Labus­c­hagne led the charge aga­inst a quality NSW attack boasting Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, smacking 21 boundaries in his 353-ball knock.

With NSW on the back foot, Mitchell Swepson, Xavier Bartlett and Brendan Doggett each took three wickets in their second innings and seal the win. Daniel Hughes was the top-scorer with 40.

The Bulls clinched victory before lunch on the fourth day of the scheduled five-day match after leg spinner Swepson (3-68) helped bowl out New South Wales for 213 in their’ second innings.

Queensland celebrated after fast bowler Doggett (3-37) claimed the final wicket to fall, snaring Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood caught behind for three. Fellow pace bowler Bartlett was also impressive for Queensland with 3-42.

Defending champion New South Wales resumed on Sunday at 140-5 still trailing by 106 runs.

It was Queensland’s ninth Shield title and second in four seasons.

“We’ve got an excellent dynamic [in the team],” said skipper Usman Khawaja. “It wasn’t a very easy wicket on the first day, it was hard to drive, but you still have to execute, and our bowlers did it beautifully. They did exactly what I asked of them and it put plenty of pressure on the Blues boys.”

Blues’ skipper Kurtis Patterson, whose side was without Steve Smith, David Warner, and Moises Henriques, who are playing in the Indian Premier League, admitted their day-one batting cost them dearly.

“It was going to be a great learning curve with a young batting line-up, and we couldn’t deliver the goods out there on day one and were probably behind the game and chasing our tails,” he told reporters. “But having said that, the Bulls ... have been the benchmark all year and fully deserve it. And Marnus, really well played, certainly the difference.”

Labuschagne called his 192 “one of the better innings I’ve played”.

“I felt like I stayed a bit more patient than I have been usually. It was good to get the team in a good position and to finish off the win today,” said the right-hander.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2021

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