Tigers suffocated by Bulls
Tasmania 6 for 208 (Cazzulino 68, McDermott 4-47) v Queensland
Alister McDermott was the chief tormentor as Tasmania's batsmen were suffocated by Queensland on a draining day one of the Sheffield Shield final in Brisbane.
Claiming three wickets in an afternoon spell that tilted the balance of play, McDermott added a fourth when he removed Steven Cazzulino after an obstinate 68 that contained not even a solitary boundary - the batsmen handicapped by a slow outfield in addition to the questions posed by the bowlers.
The captain Ricky Ponting managed only one, leaving Luke Butterworth and Tom Triffitt to hold their ground in the day's closing overs as Queensland's bowlers tired. McDermott, Steve Magoffin and the Bulls captain James Hopes all had their energy and fitness sapped by the Brisbane sun and Ryan Harris was clearly frustrated at times by the sort of day on which he could easily have claimed five wickets on his own.
Tasmania have at least given themselves something to bowl at in weather that should offer further assistance in the next few days. They would though, want to add to their tally on the second morning. Ponting had won the toss on a Gabba surface that showed some evidence of the tackiness of drying paint and moisture, the only question being how long that would last.
Aware they were in for a difficult morning, Ed Cowan and Cazzulino began carefully, scoring mainly with deflections through the legside and leaving as much as they could. Cowan was struck an eye-watering blow to a ribs from a Magoffin delivery that cut back and appeared to disturb the surface, but held his ground to raise a 50-run opening stand.
A little exasperated by the number of plays and misses his bowlers gained without catching an edge, Hopes called on the legspin of Cameron Boyce, and met with success almost immediately. Boyce was delivering his second over to Cowan when he managed to catch the edge of a footmark outside off stump, causing the ball to kick and spin sharply. Cowan had shaped to cut, but could manage only lay a glove on the ball before Chris Hartley held a juggling catch.
Coming in at No. 3, Alex Doolan showed the most fluent touch of any Tiger, striking four boundaries and impressing with his upright strokeplay. Together with the limpet-like Cazzulino, he took the visitors to a seemingly comfortable 1 for 138 before McDermott intervened.
Swinging and seaming the ball a little on a full length, McDermott coaxed Doolan into an impulsive drive, the edge snapped up by Harris at first slip. Ponting was next in, but was dismissed by a delivery that lifted sharply, catching the shoulder of the former Australian captain's bat before looping just far enough for Joe Burns to catch it on the dive.
Nick Kruger matched Ponting's score, scratching around before fending limply into the slips cordon, to give McDermott three critical wickets in the one mid-afternoon spell.
Paralysis then gripped the Tasmanian innings, as Cazzulino fought for survival but was capable of no more than that, while James Faulkner battled with his timing on a testing pitch and slow outfield. Harris and Magoffin, the latter afflicted by an aching body, beat the bat repeatedly, leaving Hopes to split the visiting pair.
Finding some late in-swing, Hopes won an lbw verdict as Faulkner shouldered arms, and next over Cazzulino's vigil was terminated when McDermott angled across him on the ideal length to catch a thin edge.
A Shield final speciailst after strong displays in 2007 and last year, Butterworth struck the first boundary for 33 overs, and with the wicketkeeper Triffitt attempted to salvage things in the final hour. Whether they can cobble enough runs on day two against a refreshed attack remains open to question.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here