Big Blue: NSW captain Steve Smith salutes the crowd after reaching his ton. Photo: Chris HydeAustralian captain Steve Smith has roared into form ahead of the opening Test of the summer, posting a commanding century against Queensland in the day-night Sheffield Shield game at the Gabba.
Smith (117) combined with Kurtis Patterson (111) to help the Blues rebound from the early loss of David Warner (12) and Ed Cowan (10), who found himself an unwanted social media star after he failed to offer a shot to Queensland quick Luke Feldman and had his off stump rocked.
NSW would declare at 7-327 and give themselves an hour to make in-roads against the Bulls, with Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja surviving a testing examination from Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to give themselves a chance to press their Test claims on Wednesday.
Earlier, Smith and the in-form Patterson took NSW from 2-23 to 3-251 before the pair went as part of a collapse as night descended, with NSW losing 5-24 under lights as Feldman (5-68) tore through the middle order.
Test incumbents Moises Henriques (11) and Peter Nevill (1) had short-lived stays while Trent Copeland produced a nine-ball duck to put Queensland momentarily back in the contest.
But Starc would slog NSW out of trouble, ending up on 36 off 28 balls as he combined with Ryan Carters (27 not out) to see their side safely past the 300 mark and prepare for the early declaration.
Starc was having little trouble with the cut on his leg at the crease and would soon give it the full test as Smith unleashed he and Hazlewood deep into the evening against the Bulls top order.
Charlie Hemphrey was cleaned up by Hazlewood for a duck but Burns (21 not out) and Khawaja (18 not out) withstood a high-pressure period to take their side to 1-39 heading into day two.
It was a key session for the Queensland pair, who are both trying to force their way back into the Test team after being dropped for the final match in Sri Lanka in August.
Shaun Marsh compiled a watchful 73 for WA in the Shield game against South Australia in Perth, with suggestions that should be enough for him to retain his opening spot if his hamstring continues to hold firm.
But Burns is facing the better calibre of attack and came through with flying colours on Tuesday night, giving himself a launch pad to hit back against Marsh should he be able to go on with things on day two.
Khawaja stands to be given a recall despite his suggestion that he was made a ‘scapegoat’ for the poor results in Sri Lanka.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.