Big worry as Bulls top order flops yet again
THE barriers flew open in the race for Test batting spots but Queensland's three hopefuls became cricketing versions of Chautauqua, the grey galloper left at the starting stalls.
Joe Burns (13), Usman Khawaja (1) and Matt Renshaw (19) all failed to post the scores needed to convince selectors Trevor Hohns and Justin Langer they must play in the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba next month.
Queensland's top order is living a double life.
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The Bulls have rarely had a more highly-touted top order yet the brutal facts are the entire Queensland side scored just one Sheffield Shield century between them last summer.
It is a sobering statistic and one which decrees none of them could be considered unlucky to miss the Test team.
While the Maroons were stranded like the famously stubborn grey galloper, Victoria's Marcus Harris bounded out with a first-up century against South Australia which will help his chances of retaining his opening spot.
Queensland were skittled for just 153 against NSW on the first day of the Shield summer at the Gabba with the irrepressible Marnus Labuschagne (69) doing for his state what he did so regularly for his country during the Ashes tour by saving his side from total embarrassment.
Blues seamer Harry Conway probed a nagging line and length on a wicket giving some help under occasionally cloudy skies which enhanced ball movement.
He returned the spectacular figures of 5-17 off 13 overs.
David Warner was looking much more assured than the form-starved figure he was in England to be 27 not out at stumps, including a rasping cover drove that would have been a pep pill for his confidence.
Burns fell leg before wicket for 13 after missing a low full toss ball from the frugal and most impressive Sean Abbott while a frustrated Khawaja (1) was surprised to be given out in the same fashion for one when he was trapped in front on the back pad by Conway from around the wicket.
Khawaja paid the price for an old foible - being stuck on the crease - with the only issue being whether the ball may have been too high.
Renshaw fought hard against a tight attack but fell soon after lunch for a gritty 19 off 88 balls when Trent Copeland enticed an edge to diving second slip Steve Smith via a straight defensive bat.
Ashes hero Labuschagne again looked compact and correct and despite edging Test fast man Starc for a boundary through slips stuck a straight and cover driven four off the same bowler.
He looked well set and century bound before being trapped in front by Conway with one which looked en route for leg peg.