Victoria v Queensland, Pura Cup, Melbourne, 2nd Day

Noffke injured as match heads towards stalemate

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Close Queensland 183 for 2 (Perren 95, Love 82*) trail Victoria 381 for 9 dec (Elliott 106, Moss 80, Dawes 4-89) by 198 runs
Scorecard

Given the state of top-level fast bowling in Australian cricket, the last news Trevor Hohns needed today was Ashley Noffke had suffered another back injury.

But the back spasms which forced the Queensland paceman from the field today on day two of the Pura Cup match against Victoria were receding by late afternoon. More importantly for Hohns, the national chairman of selectors who is at this game, Noffke's problem was different to the injury which sidelined him for more than three months. Queensland were 2 for 183 in their first innings at the close of the second day, 198 behind Victoria's 9 for 381 declared.

This match is Noffke's return to first-class cricket after that initial back problem, one of many injuries to Australia's elite quicks. He thought today's spasms were due to the heavy bowling schedule he has had over the last week at club and state level.

"I came off at the end of my spell because I was getting a bit of a back spasm, which is basically a lot of overs in the last four days," Noffke said. "I'm just getting over it now, towards the end of the day, it's starting to loosen up. Hopefully by the time we've finished batting I will have plenty of time to be out there and have another bowl. The good part is it's nothing to do with what happened before."

Noffke bowled five overs today, taking him to 0 for 50 from 28 for the innings. He impressed yesterday's centurion Matthew Elliott with his return, prompting the Victorian opener to say Noffke did not seem to be struggling at all.

Victoria's top player today, allrounder Jon Moss, also had to leave the field this afternoon because of injury. He suffered a slight groin strain earlier today in his hard-hitting innings of 80 and bowled only three overs before resting. Like Noffke, Moss went off as a precaution and will reassess his fitness tomorrow.

Victoria resumed at 6 for 255 and Moss went from 20 to 80 in only 80 balls today, with three sixes. He and Peter Roach fleshed out the Victorian first dig with an 85-run stand for the seventh wicket.

After yesterday's spate of dropped catches, Queensland fieldsmen also grassed a tough chance apiece from Moss and Roach in the first hour of play this morning. Roach was the last man out for 47.

Two balls into Queensland's innings, Mick Lewis forced Daniel Payne to play on and the Bulls looked in deep trouble during the middle session. But Clint Perren and captain Martin Love rescued their side with a chanceless stand of 173. Today yielded 339 runs altogether and an outright result is unlikely on this road of a wicket.

Andrew McDonald trapped Perren lbw for 95 only two overs from stumps. Perren played forward and he looked unlucky to be given out.

© 2003 AAP

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