An enthralling clash between the top two sides of the competition awaits, as second-placed Queensland play host to table-toppers Victoria in the ninth round of the Sheffield Shield. Join The Roar for live scores from 11am (AEDT).
At the beginning of the season, both Queensland and Victoria would have been looking towards the more experienced players in their ranks to lead the way.
But the very first match of the season, played between the two sides, paved the way for a very different Sheffield Shield.
There were three century-makers in that game, the oldest being the then-26-year-old Scott Henry.
Henry, at the top of the order, gave Queensland a great start to that game, but an incredible debut for Travis Dean and an inspired declaration from Victoria’s captain, Matthew Wade, meant his innings was in vain.
Now we are past the halfway point of the season, and it is still the younger generation of these two sides propelling their team forwards.
For Victoria, it is the two men who made centuries in the first game, against Queensland, who lead the way, with Dean and Peter Handscomb coming in at fifth and seventh respectively on the leading run-scorers chart.
For Queensland, they have 19-year-old Matt Renshaw coming in one spot ahead of Dean at fourth and 20 year-old Sam Heazlett sandwiched between the two Victorians at sixth.
Queensland’s batting line-up is certainly the younger of the two, as Victoria still have Rob Quiney and Cameron White bolstering their top order.
But it has been their bowling that has perhaps lacked consistency. In this department they have been very reliant on the man who is perhaps the most experienced player in the competition, James Hopes.
Hopes may not appear a great threat with his medium pacers, but now closing in on 300 first-class wickets, Hopes has deceived many batters with swing and seam over the course of his 16-year career.
Lacking the control of Hopes, but having more to offer with pace are two of Victoria’s main threats in Scott Boland and Chris Tremain.
Together the pair has 45 wickets in the tournament and now find themselves with even more responsibility as a result of the injuries to Peter Siddle and James Pattinson.
The Gabba is likely to offer them quite a bit early on in terms of swing, and after being taken apart by Tasmania’s batting line-up last round, a few early wickets may be what they need to have their confidence restored.
Prediction: With two evenly matched teams such as these it is often best to go with the higher placed team. But the home-ground advantage for Queensland, as well as the injuries their opposition have suffered, means that the Bulls may just be favourites to snare a win.
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