Queensland 3 for 233 (Burns 49, Hemphrey 48*) trail Tasmania 477 (Wade 108, Silk 76, Rainbird 57, Bailey 51, Milenko 50, Doggett 5-101) by 244 runs
Queensland faces two days of toil in order to lift its first Sheffield Shield in six years after Tasmania held the advantage in a tight contest at Allan Border Field. While most of the talk was about the damaging ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, a couple of possible replacements flickered before the Bulls finished the third day 244 runs behind.
Both Matt Renshaw (37) and Joe Burns (49) shone in gloomy conditions but were unable to guide Queensland to safety with long-lasting contributions. The hosts, who will win the Shield if the match is drawn, finished at 3 for 233 in reply to Tasmania's formidable 477. The major issue for the visitors is time running out, with only two days remaining to force an outright victory.
If there were any changes to the Australian top order after Cameron Bancroft's transgressions in Cape Town, Renshaw would certainly be considered after three centuries in three matches over the second half of February and early March. Here, after starting by surviving a trio of lbw appeals from the first over of the innings from Jackson Bird, he launched 16 from Bird's next over, including two flicked sixes over square-leg.
Renshaw held his poise until waving away from his body at Bird, and was unhappy to leave to an edge behind. His half-century stand with Burns was a shiny start, but in such an important game Queensland craved more.
Burns is another former Australia opener who has had a strong season, despite the disruption of a serious groin injury. He was also in good touch, pulling Sam Rainbird for six and following up with three more boundaries in that over to kick-start his innings.
Light rain forced an early tea break and the interruption affected Burns, who was lbw to the first ball back as Tom Rogers exploited the change in conditions. Rogers backed up by bowling Marnus Labuschagne (32) with one that angled in and darted away into off stump. Charlie Hemphrey (48) and Sam Heazlett (37) were in charge of the recovery from 3 for 133 and held firm until stumps.
Tasmania started the third morning at 6 for 360 and frustrated the hosts by batting almost until lunch. Resuming on 92, Matthew Wade collected his third century of the Shield season but fell on 108 when pulling and edging the impressive Brendan Doggett. Doggett's hard work returned 5 for 101, his second five-wicket haul in his first Shield campaign. Rainbird (57) picked a perfect time to earn his maiden half-century, with the No.9 combining in a valuable 57-run partnership with Andrew Fekete (27) for the final wicket.
Peter English is a journalism lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia