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The first day of the Sheffield Shield saw a powerful New South Wales side get a comfortable start to their season, Western Australia get ahead of South Australia and Victoria dominate Tasmania.
First up, let’s have a look at the game which was played at the Gabba as the Queensland Bulls took on the New South Wales Blues, both sides complete with their complement of Test players.
Queensland won the toss and rather strangely decided to bowl first. The wicket looked a little green but nothing like the monsters we have seen when the pink ball was in use before and it wasn’t humid either so the modern Kookaburra was never going to swing much.
Bowling first looked like the right option for a short period of time though as Luke Feldman had both the Blues openers – David Warner and Ed Cowan – struggling to get bat on ball.
Feldman was the pick of the bowlers all day bowling with some decent pace, good line and length and doing just enough with the ball.
Both openers fell quickly, Cowan with a poor leave and Warner thrashing an edge to at a rising ball outside off. This is where it all fell apart for the Bulls. Queensland needed to snare more wickets to justify bowling first but Steve Smith and Kurtis Patterson got NSW through this tough period.
The afternoon became more and more depressing as the two batsmen then cashed in on their good starts with hundreds to put NSW in a leading position.
Once the night set in the ball was clearly doing a bit as the standard pink ball collapse came into effect. The Blues lost five quick wickets with Feldman ending up taking five himself for the innings.
The real shame for QLD was the quick fire runs put on by Ryan Carters and Mitchell Starc. That really took the game away just that bit too far.
A smart declaration followed to get the Bulls in against the Test bowlers late into the night with a new pink ball and it had early success with Charlie Hemphrey bowled by Josh Hazelwood.
Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja saw out the rest of what was a testing period, with Starc a little wayward at times.
NSW 7/327 declared
The other games saw Victoria build a big first innings with a hundred to Marcus Harris and a tough 78 to Peter Handscomb. The big story from this games was the dropping of Glenn Maxwell, though.
From the outside, it really looks like he has put a lot of people offside with his attempted last-minute move to New South Wales – that or his perceived attitude problem.
The Tasmanian bowlers struggled to make an impact throughout the day’s play, and as such find themselves a long way behind in the match.
Western Australia, after batting for most of the first day, decided to make the same declaration that the New South Wales side did on the other side of the country, and despite being on a batsman-friendly wicket, it paid dividends with a new pink ball swinging around under lights.
Shaun Marsh complied a patient 73 to top score, with Michael Klinger making 61 at the other end. Back from the disastrous tour of South Africa, Joe Mennie was the pick of the bowlers for the Redbacks on what was a tough day in the field.
Jason Behrendorff then picked up two quick wickets to put the men from the west right on top of the match, reducing South Australia’s top order to nothing.
WA 2/271 declared