Queensland 5 for 71 (Burns 31, Heazlett 28*, Neser 22*, Paris 2-15) trail Western Australia 138 (Whiteman 38, Neser 5-15, Stanlake 2-32) by 43 runs
Michael Neser has put his name in lights as a potential Ashes tourist after a stunning five-wicket haul on a day when fast bowlers dominated at the WACA.
Neser took 5 for 15 from 15 overs, with all five dismissals caught behind the wicket, to help bowl Western Australia out for just 138 on a green seamer. The Warriors bounced back emphatically late in the day, reducing the visitors to 5 for 66 before Neser and Sam Heazlett steadied the ship with a calming, unbeaten 29-run stand to see the Bulls to stumps.
Neser now has 30 wickets at an average of 23.30 for the season and 451 runs and counting at an average of 50.11 with five half-centuries.
There was no hesitation from Bulls captain Jimmy Peirson to bowl after winning the toss and Neser revelled in the conditions. He squared up both Cameron Bancroft and D'Arcy Short with balls that seamed a long way before they were edged into the safe hands of Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne respectively. Mitchell Marsh also fell caught at slip to Neser attempting to defend on the front foot.
Sam Whiteman was one of the few WA batsmen who looked comfortable against the moving ball, leaving decisively and pouncing on the odd loose delivery. He and Hilton Cartwright guided the home side to lunch but both fell shortly after. Cartwright was caught in the gully before Whiteman fell for 38, closing the face too soon be caught and bowled off the leading edge to Mark Steketee.
The rot then set in. WA lost their last seven wickets for just 69 runs. Neser took two of the last four to complete just his second five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
Queensland's innings started horrendously, slumping to 3 for 18. Joel Paris' late and prodigious swing accounted for Matt Renshaw and Labuschagne before Charlie Hemphrey was bowled shouldering arms to Mitch Marsh.
Joe Burns made 31 out of 49 in the difficult batting conditions before fending at and edging Liam Guthrie to second slip where Bancroft held the sharp chance.
Peirson sliced a catch to the gully off Kelly to leave the Bulls in a worse position than the Warriors were at five-down. But Heazlett and Neser were solid in the fading light to reach stumps 43 runs behind with five first-innings wickets in hand.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne