Queensland in good health after lots of Love
Martin Love left a memorable display in his farewell to the Gabba as his 118 not out was responsible for handing Queensland a 97-run advantage over New South Wales. Love, the state's leading run-scorer, will retire at the end of the season and his 30th century drove the Bulls to the confident position of 5 for 366.
The innings was crucial in gaining two points that moved the Bulls to 24, equal with the second-placed Tasmania, who are struggling in Hobart. Both teams are jostling to face Victoria in the final on March 13. Love, the No. 3, held the order together after the hosts were 3 for 81 and shared vital stands with Andrew Symonds, James Hopes and Chris Hartley, who raised half-centuries.
Love stayed for 219 balls and struck 15 fours while his partners operated at a quicker rate. Symonds slammed 52 from 45 deliveries, with 10 boundaries, to provide a timely surge to the innings and show he was still capable of producing an important performance. When Symonds, who is playing his 100th first-class game for Queensland, left after hooking at Grant Lambert (2 for 92) he had scored all but eight runs of his partnership with Love.
Hopes followed his 4 for 80 with 55 to settle any fears of a collapse and Hartley continued his strong finish to the summer. After taking six catches, Hartley moved to 82 not out and on the third morning will aim for consecutive centuries.
Queensland suffered their first loss with Ryan Broad edging behind on 0 while Shane Watson, who is returning from back stress fractures as a specialist batsman, also failed to score. The opener Nick Kruger (44) played on to Greg Mail before Love settled the situation.
Usman Khawaja added three to his overnight 109 and was last man out as the Blues reached 269. Ben Cutting picked up the final wicket to have 3 for 51.