Usman Khawaja shines again but NSW take honours on day one of Shield clash
Usman Khawaja was a lone hand of resistance as the second-string NSW attack bowled the Blues into a strong position on day one of the Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland at Allan Border Field yesterday.
With fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins all rested, Queensland were spared the full force of the NSW blitz. It mattered little as the experienced Doug Bollinger and Trent Copeland did the damage at the top of the order, with Nathan Lyon helping to mop up.
Queensland were dismissed for 183 after winning the toss and batting, with Khawaja scoring 78 of those in another quality innings ahead of the Ashes. In reply, NSW made it to 3-83 by the close of play, with David Warner (26) and captain Steve Smith (44) both falling late in the piece.
All eyes were on Matt Renshaw early as the Test opener tried to post a score and release some pressure on his spot for the Gabba Test. With the three best Blues quicks on ice, it looked to be an ideal opportunity to break the shackles after a series of outs in the opening shield rounds.
Renshaw looked solid enough as he made it to 16 but soon nicked one off Copeland, who had it swinging early.
Copeland (3-33) was proving a handful in the conditions, adding Marnus Labuschagne (6) and Jack Wildermuth (27) to his haul. Bollinger (3-38) finished with the wickets of former Test bat Joe Burns (2), Sam Truloff (13) and Jimmy Peirson (1).
Lyon (3-59) continued his good bowling and NSW were soon to be in for a testing afternoon session, with Nic Maddinson going early for eight to unite Warner and Smith at the crease.
It looked to be smooth sailing as NSW ticked things over to 68 before Warner spooned one to Mitch Swepson at point off the bowling of Wildermuth, who ended the day with 2-13 after an impressive late spell.