Qld v Tasmania, Sheffield Shield Final, Brisbane, 2nd day March 17, 2012

Hopes' rearguard halted by rain

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Queensland 5 for 139 (Hopes 54*) trail Tasmania 241 (Cazzulino 68, McDermott 6-54) by 102 runs
Scorecard

Luke Butterworth and James Faulkner splintered Queensland's top order before James Hopes mounted a brazen counterattack to leave the Sheffield Shield final nicely poised after a rain-shortened day two in Brisbane.

On a Gabba pitch that gathered pace but still offered generous movement to the pacemen, the Tigers were bowled out for 241 before reducing the Bulls to 5 for 55. From this uncertain platform Hopes and Chris Hartley played their shots, but will need to face a fresh Tasmanian attack on the third morning.

Alister McDermott had concluded the Tigers' first innings with the handsome figures of 6 for 54, before Butterworth and Faulkner claimed two wickets apiece. The prolific wicket-taker Jackson Bird accounted for Chris Lynn.

Earlier, Butterworth and Tom Triffitt had resumed in search of a substantial innings for the Tigers, but were immediately discomforted by the movement on offer for the Bulls with the second new ball. Triffitt was soon to edge Steve Magoffin, while trying to leave a delivery whirring awkwardly down the corridor outside off stump, and Butterworth followed when he drove a little too impetuously to cover.

Brendan Drew and Jason Krejza added some nuisance runs before McDermott wrapped up the innings with the final two wickets, claiming figures enviable by most - only five other Queenslanders had claimed five wickets in a Shield final.

Granted a brief session to bowl before lunch, the Tigers made it count. Butterworth's immaculate line drew edges from the bats of Alex Kemp and Wade Townsend before it was time to adjourn, leaving the Bulls a nervy 2 for 9 at the interval.

On resumption Faulkner chimed in to account for Joe Burns and Andrew Robinson, Burns snicking an attempted drive and Robinson bunting a catch to Ricky Ponting at short mid-on. When Chris Lynn succumbed to Bird, fencing a lifting delivery to gully, Queensland were a punch-drunk 5 for 55.

However Hopes and Hartley had memories of past Shield triumphs to steel them, and went on to establish the most aggressive partnership of the match so far. Making light of a dreadfully slow outfield, Hopes coshed eight boundaries on his way to a half-century, and Hartley contributed usefully also.

Both batsmen were the beneficiaries of wasted difficult chances, before the rain brought an early close. Given the flurry of wickets and the capricious nature of the pitch, a draw appears highly unlikely.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here