Wade steps up to save Victoria
Victoria 9 for 286 (Wade 96, Swan 3-57) v Queensland
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Inexperienced teams have trouble finishing opponents off and Matthew Wade took advantage of Queensland's absent killer instinct to stage a strong recovery at the MCG. Victoria were in awful trouble at 6 for 75 two overs after lunch, but Wade steered them with 96 and found valuable allies in John Hastings and Damien Wright as they finished on 9 for 286.
After such a stunning start it was a lethargic second half to the day from Queensland, with Wade and his partners getting settled and then taking off. Wade produced a two-paced innings, stabilising the situation with extended watchful periods before breaking away to show his aggressive side with three sixes. He was closing on a deserved century when he skewed James Hopes to mid-off just before stumps.
Both sides still have a lot to do over the next four days, but by missing out on a huge first-innings score Victoria, who won the toss, have given up some of the perks of finishing the regular season on top. They only need a draw to lift the Sheffield Shield, but this match already looks like it is heading towards a result.
It seemed like it was going to be over early after such an eventful opening, but Wade put on 86 for the seventh wicket with Hastings (47) and another 84 with Damien Wright, who was aggressive during his 42 off 53 balls. Darren Pattinson, the No. 10, joined Wade in adding an important 40 that delayed the Bulls some more.
Having watched their more qualified team-mates be controlled by the fast bowlers before lunch, Wade and Hastings battened down and tried to find a way to escape. In the 16 overs after the interval there were only 24 runs, but the batsmen were relieved to see the pitch flatten out, and Hastings benefitted from Chris Lynn's miss at point on 2.
Wade and Hastings were happy with the arrival of Chris Simpson's offspin, with Hastings swiping two sixes to midwicket in the same over. However, Hastings got too aggressive to Cameron Boyce, the young legspinner, after tea and was caught at deep mid-off the ball after he lofted a straight boundary.
Wade also attacked Simpson with a six to long on, and he punished Boyce, twice launching him into the stands. He collected 12 fours and stayed for 206 balls, but exited craving another boundary.
Victoria suffered a setback in the morning with Chris Rogers, their rock at the top, succumbing to a broken hand and the reshuffle upset the hosts. Chris Swan (3 for 57) achieved the first two breakthroughs when Rob Quiney pushed forward and edged behind, and Nick Jewell was bowled by a fine delivery ducking back in.
The Bulls were hopeful of more damage on a pitch offering early help, but they were surprised by the strength of their position at lunch. Victoria were in desperate trouble at 5 for 75 and the situation worsened when Ben Cutting bowled Cameron White for 10 with a beautiful ball that decked away.
David Hussey, the side's other big gun, had already been defused on 8 by Hopes, who watched the edge go to Simpson at first slip. Further smiles for the visitors came when Luke Feldman was on a hat-trick after removing Aaron Finch (26) and Andrew McDonald, who drove without getting properly forward to give Simpson another catch. Wade defended the hat-trick ball and set about ensuring a much healthier position.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo