Victoria v Queensland, Pura Cup, Melbourne, 2nd day November 25, 2006

Bulls build on first-innings lead

Brydon Coverdale at the MCG

Queensland 272 and 1 for 51 lead Victoria 253 (McDonald 62, Jewell 59, Mash 53, Bichel 3-64) by 70 runs

Queensland have taken first-innings points in an evenly-poised match after Andy Bichel and James Hopes turned the game on its head and sparked a Victoria middle-order collapse. Needing 273 to take the lead, the Bushrangers squandered a solid start until Andrew McDonald gave his side hope with 62, only to be run out 20 short of the target.

McDonald, with help from Jon Moss (14), Shane Harwood (7) and Clinton McKay, led the Victoria recovery from 6 for 152 to 8 for 250 until a direct hit from Clinton Perren had McKay run out for 16. In the next over McDonald was also caught short and the Bushrangers were all out for 253. At stumps, Queensland were 1 for 51 having lost Jimmy Maher for 7.

Batsmen again struggled enough to confirm there were demons in the pitch and again bowlers were rewarded for aiming at the stumps. On day one, Queensland lost 6 for 45 during one spell in the first session. On day two, Victoria lost 6 for 43. The only difference was Victoria's collapse occurred either side of the lunch break and came after a strong opening stand of 109 between Nick Jewell and Lloyd Mash.

The problems started when Mash padded up to a Daniel Doran leg-break and was lbw for 53. Then with just seven minutes until lunch, Jewell (59) failed to move his feet and played a loose shot outside off-stump, edging to a juggling Maher at second slip to give Ashley Noffke his first Pura Cup wicket for the season.

Victoria were 2 for 130 at the break and still looked in control, with Brad Hodge and David Hussey at the crease. But the Bushrangers skidded to a halt, losing three wickets in the first two overs of the second session. Hopes trapped Hussey lbw for 0 before Bichel snared the huge wickets of Brad Hodge and Cameron White within three balls.

Bichel found the gap between Hodge's bat and pad and bowled him for 14. White (0) was adjudged to have edged a short ball to the wicketkeeper, a decision the Victoria captain was clearly unhappy about. Hopes then clean-bowled Adam Crosthwaite for 8, with a delivery that appeared to hit a crack in the pitch, before the Bushrangers began their ill-fated recovery.

Noffke's match went from good to better. After making 81 not out and claiming Jewell's wicket, he took a sharp chance in the gully to dismiss Harwood and then had Moss trapped lbw. Just minutes earlier, Noffke's wife Michelle had given birth to their second baby.