New South Wales 7 for 327 dec and 0 for 51 lead Queensland 6 for 330 dec (Burns 129, Khawaja 79, Labuschagne 76, Hazlewood 4-70) by 48 runs
A Joe Burns hundred and 79 from Usman Khawaja gave Australia's selectors significant food for thought on the second day of Queensland's Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales at the Gabba. The squad for the first Test against South Africa is due to be named on Friday and it is entirely possible there will be room for only one of Burns and Khawaja, both of whom were axed during the recent tour of Sri Lanka.
Burns' opening position was taken in Colombo by Shaun Marsh, who scored a century in that Test and has effectively proven his fitness - he recently suffered a hamstring injury - by making 73 in Western Australia's Shield game on Tuesday. The other inclusion in Colombo was allrounder Moises Henriques, who had little impact and will not retain his place in the home summer, which opens up one batting position.
Burns and Khawaja, who batted together for a 166-run partnership against New South Wales, might therefore have effectively have been competing with each other for a Test call-up. Having survived a tense evening period on the first day, they resumed on 1 for 39 and both moved to half-centuries against a high-quality attack whose every member owns a baggy green, including current Test players Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.
Eventually, it was Trent Copeland who broke the stand by inducing a top-edge from Khawaja on 79. But Burns found another capable ally and put on 109 for the third wicket with Marnus Labuschagne, who is fresh from being named Player of the Tournament in the Matador Cup, and in this innings looked set for a third first-class hundred before Khawaja declared with him on 85 and the total on 6 for 330.
By that stage Burns had departed for 129, his 12th first-class hundred, and he was one of four wickets for Hazlewood, who also had Peter Forrest and Chris Hartley caught behind cheaply. Hazlewood finished with 4 for 70 and Starc, who is coming back from a nasty training injury that led to 30 stitches in his left shin, picked up 1 for 62 from his 19 overs. Lyon took 0 for 75 from 18.
Queensland's declaration came immediately after they had taken a first-innings lead, and it left New South Wales having to bat 12 potentially awkward overs under lights before stumps. However, David Warner made the most of the brief period at the crease and raced to 41 from 35 deliveries, while Ed Cowan managed 10 not out. By stumps, the Blues were 0 for 51, with a 48-run advantage in the match.