Tasmania 477 (Wade 108, Doggett 5-101) & 0 for 10 trail Queensland 516 (Hemphrey 77, Wildermuth 73, Webster 3-83) by 28 runs
Queensland is within sight of its eighth Sheffield Shield trophy after a satisfying day of graft against Tasmania at Allan Border Field. Any local nerves in the morning, when the Bulls resumed 244 runs behind, were eased with a trio of half-centuries that guided them to a first-innings lead of 39.
With only a day and a maximum of 105 overs remaining in the weather-affected contest, Tasmania must build quickly on its 0 for 10 and then pray for the type of collapse that embarrassed Australia even further in Cape Town. Queensland will receive the trophy if the match is drawn, and the pitch is showing few signs of tremors and the Tuesday forecast is for showers.
The visitors started with a small opening and enhanced their prospects with the early dismissal of Sam Heazlett (43). Any advantage had disappeared by the late afternoon.
Queensland's batsmen neither starred nor flopped, with a conveyor belt of contributions from top to bottom preventing any serious wounds. Charlie Hemphrey, who learned his craft in England, entered the game with centuries in his previous two matches, but was unable to convert a third and departed with a team-high 77. Like Heazlett, he also fell to a catch behind to Matthew Wade and the hosts were breathing a little deeper at 5 for 308.
The captain James Peirson held firm either side of attacking half-centuries from Jack Wildermuth and Michael Neser that returned balance to the contest. Wildermuth, who powered to his fifty with a lofted drive over cover, was dismissed on 73 to a sharp caught and bowled by Simon Milenko. Neser stepped in with a similar attitude, overtaking his leader on the way to a valuable 58.
As Queensland moved closer to parity, Tasmania had a brief surge with two wickets in a couple of overs. Neser was unhappy to cut the offspin of Beau Webster to point and Milenko captured his second victim by forcing Peirson to play on two short of his half-century.
The tail delayed Tasmania even further until Webster earned his third victim when Mitchell Swepson gave Wade his fourth catch. Webster collected 3 for 83 off 25.3 overs while Milenko, Tom Rogers and Jackson Bird captured two each. Tasmania has had to force the pace after the first day was abandoned due to a wet outfield and is now chasing a miracle to snatch the title from Queensland.
Peter English is a journalism lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia