New South Wales 3 for 83 (Smith 44, Wildermuth 2-13) trail Queensland 183 (Khawaja 78*, Copeland 3-33) by 100 runs
Matt Renshaw's hold onto an opening spot for Australia looks shakier by the day after he made another low score for Queensland. He also saw his national captain Steven Smith occupy for New South Wales the first slip position which the 21-year-old had occupied solidly over his first 10 Tests.
In making a start before edging a typically precise Trent Copeland delivery behind to Peter Nevill, Renshaw added 16 to a recent red-ball sequence of scores that reads 45, 5, 4, 22, 17, 16, 1 and 19 since the first Test in Bangladesh. Such has been the debate around his place, with the Western Australia coach Justin Langer piling on the pressure among others, that Renshaw's opening partner David Warner advised him to "steer clear of the newspapers".
"I want him to score runs this week. He has been under a bit of pressure this week, there has been a bit of talk in the media," Warner said about Renshaw before the game. "You have to keep putting the numbers on the board. As a youngster, I would be steering clear of newspapers this week."
However, there was an even more tangible sign of shifting opinions when Renshaw walked out to bat. Smith, who typically fields at second slip whenever Copeland is in the NSW Shield XI and did so most recently in the opening round against South Australia, had swapped from second to first for this match, his last before the Gabba Test. The move indicated Smith felt a need to prepare for a different role from the one he generally fills as captain of Australia, and an indicator the selectors may be about to jettison Renshaw.
More certainty was provided by the No. 3 Usman Khawaja, dropped in Bangladesh but in sturdy touch, while providing the spinal contribution of a Queensland innings that otherwise struggled for traction on a well-grassed Allan Border Field pitch that offered seam movement and the odd bit of variable bounce.
Khawaja's duel with Nathan Lyon was particularly arresting, while Copeland and Doug Bollinger also made the ball move around. NSW also found it difficult when they batted in the evening session, losing Nic Maddinson, Warner and then Smith in the final over of the day to a ball that leapt at him from Jack Wildermuth and was taken at short leg. Smith indicated the ball may have hit the arm rather than bat.