Queensland v South Australia, Sheffield Shield, Brisbane, 3rd day November 30, 2008

Watson fires Queensland with bat and ball

Cricinfo staff

Queensland 352 & 9 for 371 (Watson 81, Hartley 71*, Love 50, Christian 4-89) lead South Australia 411 (Ferguson 132, Younis 118, Watson 7-69) by 312 runs

Shane Watson's bowling has improved dramatically over the past year © AFP

Shane Watson was first picked by Australia as they searched for an answer to the England allrounder Andrew Flintoff in 2005 and in this match he has showed similar powers against South Australia. Following career-best figures of 7 for 69, Watson backed up with 81 as Queensland extended their lead to an impressive 312 after giving up first-innings points early on the third day.

Watson's amazing contributions helped keep the Bulls in the game after South Australia were dismissed for 411, gaining an advantage of 59. Over the past year Watson's bowling has improved significantly and Ricky Ponting judged him the side's best fast man during the India tour. However, he was dropped from the Test squad after the Brisbane win, but quickly showed he was capable of a big haul and will come into contention for the South Africa series.

After taking three wickets on the second day, Watson had Callum Ferguson lbw for 132 in his second over of the morning and followed up by removing Graham Manou for 32. Aaron O'Brien and Daniel Christian completed the collection as Watson grabbed the third five-wicket haul of his career.

Queensland's second innings began with Nick Kruger being bowled first ball by Shaun Tait, but the deficit was erased for the loss of two wickets. Martin Love compiled another half-century and Watson scored at almost a run-a-ball, hitting 15 fours and a six. He was dropped the delivery before tea, but was dismissed shortly after the break when he was lbw to Christian.

Christian, the medium-fast bowler, took four wickets as Queensland reached 9 for 371 at stumps. The wicketkeeper Chris Hartley was unbeaten on 71 after important stands with Ryan Harris (46) and the No. 11 Chris Swan, who was 18 not out.