Harry Conway is certainly making up for Mitchell Starc’s lack of wickets.
Harry Conway is certainly making up for Mitchell Starc’s lack of wickets.

Starc odd man out as NSW bowlers rule

TEST paceman Mitchell Starc again failed to fire, though the remainder of the NSW attack has the Blues within sight of victory after day three of their Sheffield Shield match against Queensland at the Gabba.

Queensland reached stumps on the third day on 5-186, a lead of just 51 runs with their last two recognised batsman at the crease.

NSW put aside a disappointing start to the summer in the recent one-day competition to be within touching distance of opening-round win, despite the best efforts of Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne and Brisbane's inclement weather.

 

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A second day of rain meant play was unable to commence until after lunch, but the Blues attack managed to make regular inroads into the home side's top-order throughout the afternoon.

Harry Conway picked up 2-20 and Trent Copeland 2-39 to do the bulk of the damage.

But there was no such joy for Starc in his first top-line match since the fourth Test in England five weeks ago.

The Aussie left-arm paceman found some early rhythm in his first spell, but ultimately went wicketless with his 16 overs yielding 69 runs. Starc also failed to get among the wickets in the first innings with Queensland managing just 153 on day one.

Due to the rain delay, NSW elected to declare on their overnight score of 9-288, a 135-run first-innings lead.

Marnus Labuschagne was the hero for the Bulls yet again.
Marnus Labuschagne was the hero for the Bulls yet again.

Test hopeful Joe Burns top-scored with a watchful 52, while Ashes breakthrough star Labuschagne ended the day unbeaten on 48 in an equally gritty innings.

Usman Khawaja, who is also seeking to press his claims for Test selection against Pakistan next month, looked in promising form before he caught behind off Sean Abbott (1-44) for 24.

Jimmy Peirson remains at the crease unbeaten on 21.

"The wicket had a little bit in it after that rain delay with the moisture, and it was hard work with the bat," Labuschagne said.

"The positive is that the wicket has something in it with the new ball, so if we can get up around 150 or 200, it could be a tricky chase."