Victoria v Queensland, Pura Cup, Melbourne, 4th day November 27, 2006

Bowlers earn vital win for Queensland

Brydon Coverdale at the MCG

Queensland 272 and 9 for 293 dec beat Victoria 253 and 222 (Hodge 54, Doran 3-51) by 90 runs

Queensland's bowlers have made the most of a wearing MCG pitch to claim victory in their Pura Cup match against Victoria, despite some valiant resistance by the Bushrangers' lower order led by Adam Crosthwaite. Chasing a very difficult target of 313 Victoria were bowled out for 222 mid-way through the final session.

The Bulls shared the wickets between them, with Daniel Doran (3 for 51) finishing with the best figures after he had Gerard Denton trapped lbw for 3 to give Queensland the win. Andy Bichel, Mitchell Johnson and Ashley Noffke picked up two scalps each. The Bushrangers were already staring down the barrel going to lunch at 4 for 95 and when Cameron White (16) and Andrew McDonald (14) both nicked regulation catches to Chris Hartley the situation was desperate at 6 for 134.

But Crosthwaite and Jon Moss put up a good fight for 20 overs, adding 58 for the seventh wicket before Crosthwaite was out for 43, lbw to a terrific inswinger from Noffke. Moss (24) gave Noffke his second wicket when he was lbw to a short-pitched ball that failed to bounce above his knee-roll, the best example of the variable bounce that troubled batsmen throughout the match. Shane Harwood batted defiantly for over an hour for his 11 not out but ran out of partners when Clinton McKay (10) was spectacularly caught and bowled by Bichel and the injured Denton was trapped in front.

The day started atrociously for Victoria when both openers were out in the first six overs of play. Lloyd Mash played on to a short ball from Bichel for 6 and when Nick Jewell also fell for 6 the Bushrangers were in trouble at 2 for 21. Jewell, who edged a simple catch to Hartley, gave Johnson his first wicket of the game.

Victoria got back on track through Brad Hodge and David Hussey before a Clinton Perren run-out once again turned the match in Queensland's favour. Hodge and Hussey had put on 41 and pushed the Bushrangers to 2 for 62 when a direct hit from Perren at deep midwicket, barely ten metres from the boundary, had Hussey (12) caught short at the bowler's end attempting a second run.

It was an even more incredible throw than in the first innings when Perren ran from the slips cordon to third-man, turned and threw down the stumps at the wicketkeeper's end to run out McKay. Hodge made 54 and was the best of the Victoria batsmen but his day ended in the last over before lunch when he tried to drive a conventional legbreak from Doran and guided a thin edge into the waiting hands of Martin Love at first slip.

Victoria's day did not improve with the news that Denton, who left the field on Sunday with a leg injury, was likely to miss up to six weeks with shin splints in his left leg. With Mick Lewis and a host of second-string fast bowlers already out injured, the Bushrangers face an uphill battle to get themselves back in the race for the Pura Cup with just one win from four games. Queensland now have two wins from their opening four matches.