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March 2, 2008
South Australia 237 and 8 for 131 (Christian 49*) trail Queensland 8 for 456 dec (Watson 190, Hartley 95, Love 62, R Harris 4-93, Cleary 3-83) by 88 runs
Shane Watson starred with 190 before South Australia collapsed yet again to put Queensland on the brink of their first Pura Cup victory of the season. At stumps the Redbacks were 8 for 131, still trailing by 88 runs with Daniel Christian on 49 and Jason Gillespie on 1.
It was looming as a forgettable farewell from state cricket for Gillespie, who earlier picked up 1 for 97, and a memorable one for the Queensland captain Jimmy Maher. The Redbacks top order continued to display worrying frailty following the departures of Darren Lehmann and Matthew Elliott, with only Christian showing significant fight.
Ashley Noffke, Scott Brant, Chris Simpson and Watson picked up two wickets each to all but ensure Queensland would not suffer a winless campaign. Most pleasing for the struggling Bulls was the form of Watson, who until this match had endured a season newsworthy only for his ongoing hamstring injuries and his comprehensive failures when promoted to open.
Back in the more customary No. 5 position he returned to form last month with 80 against Western Australia and followed with an innings 13 shy of his best in first-class cricket. Watson hit 19 fours and three sixes and had excellent support from Chris Hartley, who is one of the contenders to take over from Maher as captain.
Hartley batted for more than five hours for his 95 until he was lbw to Ryan Harris (4 for 93), and as soon as he fell short of his second first-class century Maher declared with a lead of 219. With the Redbacks unlikely to bowl again in the match Gillespie's last first-class wicket in Australia will probably be Ryan Broad, his sole victim for the game.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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