Sheffield Shield: Usman Khwaja ensures New South Wales in charge after three days against Queensland
The Pakistan born batsman Usman Khawaja, blazed away with the bat to ensure the Blues are still in a stronger position against Queensland after three days at Blacktown Olympic Park Oval, Sydney. Khawaja’s unbeaten 78 were well complimented
by Moises Henriques' 53 not out as the Blues set the visitors a daunting target of 414 for victory.
The Bulls made a solid start to their chase and have reached 71 without any loss by the stumps on the third day with the opening pair of Ryan Board and Wade Townsend on the crease at 31 and 26 respectively. But after three days having
been dominated by the hosts, the task of Chris Hartley’s men still remains an enormous one.
The visitors resumed the third day at 84 for 3 in their first innings and after falling to 146 for 8, the Bulls relied on the Andrew Robinson and Luke Feldman to drag them to 213 before the whole team was bowled out. Robinson, standing
in his first-class debut, scored 77 runs while the tailender Feldman added 43 runs to the scorecard before he was caught by Copeland off Nathan Hauritz.
All the seven wickets were lost in the opening session of day three including Steve O’Keefe’s three wickets in four deliveries as he returned with 3 for 23 from nine overs. The left-arm spinner was joined by Doug Bollinger with his
three wickets. Nathan Hauritz, who has continuously been overlooked by the Australian selectors for the Ashes squad, finished with 2 for 68.
Despite having a lead of 245 runs in the first-innings, the Blues did not enforce the follow on and lost three quick wickets in their second innings with just 36 on the board. At this stage Khawaja, who has celebrated his 24th birthday
just two days ago, steadied the hosts with an unbeaten three digit partnership with Moises Henriques to take the side to 168 for 3 before Stuart Clark decided to declare the innings. The visitors were left to play 25 overs before stumps.
With an unbeaten knock of 78 runs in the second innings, Khawaja pressed his claims for a Test call-up if the broken little finger rules Australian captain Ricky Ponting out of the fourth Ashes Test against England which gets underway in Melbourne on December