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March 25, 2006
Queensland 1 for 301 (Maher 159*, Stevens 66, Love 62*) trail Victoria 344 (Hodge 108, Jewell 89, Hussey 72*, Johnson 4-55, Bichel 4-80) by 43 runs
Queensland stormed into the Pura Cup final as Jimmy Maher's unbeaten 159 swung the match away from Victoria on the second day. Starting the morning by knocking over the Bushrangers for 344, the Bulls then raced to 1 for 301 with Maher thumping 20 boundaries in his 249-ball innings.
Maher, whose north Queensland family and friends were hit by Cyclone Larry early in the week, created his own danger for Victoria as he attempted to win his first domestic first-class trophy as captain. He put his side in the ideal position during a 157-run opening stand with Lachlan Stevens, who added a valuable 66 before being run out with both batsmen at the bowler's end, and posted a further 144 with his long-time team-mate Martin Love. Playing in his 10th final, the most by any Australian player, Love cruised to an unbeaten 62 and will search for his fourth hundred in deciders on day three.
As hosts Queensland require a draw to raise the trophy, but Maher gave them a chance of pushing for a big lead and they will start the third day only 43 behind. He also brought up his 8000th run in the domestic first-class matches and his 4000th at the Gabba on a day of individual and team satisfaction.
Mitchell Johnson (4 for 55) and Andy Bichel (4 for 80) closed out the Victoria innings as they lost their final five wickets for 65 runs in the first session. David Hussey was the only batsman to hold up the Bulls as he struck an unbeaten 73-ball 72, which included eight boundaries.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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