Harris returns as Bulls stay in contention
Queensland 4 for 243 (Hartley 74, Reardon 52, Pomersbach 51) beat Victoria 8 for 242 (Hill 88, Rogers 60, Gale 5-67) by 6 wickets
Queensland stayed in contention for the domestic limited overs final and Ryan Harris made a significant step on his road to consideration for this year's Ashes tour in the Bulls' six-wicket victory over Victoria at the MCG.
Victoria are still in prime position to host the competition final, but the field is now bunched beneath them. South Australia will qualify by defeating New South Wales at Adelaide Oval but a Blues win opens numerous other possibilities, with only Tasmania out of the reckoning.
The visitors' successful chase had its genesis in an exceptional early spell delivered by Harris, who in his first state appearance since shoulder surgery reminded all observers of his quality. His opening four overs cost only six runs and claimed the wicket of Rob Quiney, edging a perfectly pitched delivery to slip.
While he tired notably and was not as effective in his second stint while battling leg cramps, Harris' return will not have escaped the attention of the national selectors, who would dearly like to have him at their disposal for the 10 Test matches against England to be played away and at home in the next 12 months.
"With the conditioning I got a lot of cramps but very happy with how I bowled out there," Harris told Fox Sports. "All it is now is bowling, a little bit of running and getting all the conditioning I need. It was good to get the ball in the right spot and a little bit of swing, but obviously I ran out of puff real quick.
"I'm usually at the Gabba watching every game from start to finish, but I've found this very frustrating. It's been very hard, but the good thing now is I've done a lot of work in the gym and it's nice to know all that work has got me back here."
"I want to be a part of the Ashes squads whether it's over there or back here, but all I'm focusing on now is getting back into Shield cricket. It's in the back of my mind but I don't want to think about it too much. I've got to get the workloads back into me and making sure the body can handle it - it's a matter of building up in a few areas and playing back-to-back games."
Aside from Harris, the Bulls were well served by Matthew Gale, who claimed five wickets in the back half of the Victorian innings, and the batting contributions of Chris Hartley, Luke Pomersbach and Nathan Reardon who won the match award.
Chris Rogers and Michael Hill had played soundly for Victoria after the slow start, while the Bushrangers' hopes of defending their total shone brightest when Fawad Ahmed claimed Pomersbach and Peter Forrest in the same over during another skilful display of leg spin.