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Final, Brisbane, April 15 - 18, 2021, Sheffield Shield

Queensland won by an innings and 33 runs

Player Of The Match

Michael Neser and Jack Wildermuth give Queensland early control of final

New South Wales were bundled out for 143 on the opening day and could only manage one early wicket in response

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
Queensland 1 for 58 trail New South Wales 143 (Patterson 43, Neser 5-27, Wildermuth 4-21) by 85 runs
Twenty-six summers ago, Queensland hosted their first ever Sheffield Shield final at the Gabba. South Australia, with the task of maintaining one of Australian sport's longest droughts, won the toss and were more than eager to bat first.
But in the face of quality bowling and day one bounce, the visitors were rolled for 214 and the Bulls spent the best part of the next three days batting, on the way to finally lifting the Shield for the first time.
Three of Queensland's coaching and support staff, Wade Seccombe, Andy Bichel and Martin Love, all took part in that storied week, and its first day cannot have been far from their minds as they watched the current team do a similarly comprehensive job on New South Wales after they, too, chose to bat first.
This time around, Allan Border Field offered some slow seam and variable bounce, perfectly exploited by the indefatigable Michael Neser and the lively Jack Wildermuth, backed up by Brendan Doggett and Xavier Bartlett. Mitchell Swepson, despite plentiful evidence of turn given the dryness of the pitch, was only required for six overs: his time will come later.
The Blues, sporting a top seven featuring only two seasoned specialist batsmen in Daniel Hughes and the captain Kurtis Patterson, were unable to withstand the unrelenting lines of their opponents, which made the modicum of seam movement either way close to lethal against all but the tightest defences.
New South Wales struggled, too, with the occasion, as evidenced by a nervy near run out in the first over as Hughes and Matt Gilkes hesitated over a tight single. The likes of Jason Sangha, Jack Edwards and Baxter Holt will be better for the lessons of the day, painful as they may be.
There was always a gambling element to the youthful batting line-up selected by New South Wales for the final, betting on talent over experience to generate enough runs against Queensland. In several ways, the Blues' young bats were unable to deal with the pressure of the bowling and the vagaries of a crusty pitch. It did not help them that neither Neser nor Wildermuth offered anything in the way of loose deliveries, while moving the ball subtly in both directions.
Gilkes misjudged Neser and was bowled shouldering arms; Sangha's fluent start was ended when he chose the wrong ball to pull; Edwards drove unwisely at a tempting Neser away drifter, and Holt hung his bat out in a fashion he won't want to look at on too many replays. With Hughes and Patterson both edging model deliveries into Jimmy Peirson's gloves, the Bulls were more than happy with their work to have the Blues 8 for 123 at tea and knocked over shortly afterwards for not too many more.
The third umpire was twice involved in checking no-balls on dismissals: Wildermuth got away with a mighty close call against Hughes but Bartlett wasn't so fortunate when Abbott edged to slip.
Back in 1995, Malcolm Conn had described the collapse of the South Australians for the Wide World of Sports Cricket Yearbook: "The extra bounce of the Gabba pitch brought the extroverts of the SA batting line-up undone as the top order played a series of shots that, at least, partly explained why some of the most exciting Shield batsmen in the country had never gone on to higher honours."
Then, as now, the failures of the visiting side on the opening day require exploitation by long innings from Queensland. After Joe Burns nicked a typically exemplary delivery from Josh Hazlewood, Bryce Street and Marnus Labuschagne settled in. They will be hoping to emulate their forebears on the second day.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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