It was an underwhelming finish to the match on the final day of the Sheffield Shield clash between Queensland and Tasmania on Sunday.
Tasmania started the day on 1/59 and showed no signs of intent from the get go. The Tigers put on 147 runs with a loss of two wickets before Bulls skipper Usman Khawaja was forced to shake hands.
It would be fair to say that Khawaja was less than impressed post-game.
“(I’m) a little bit disappointed, as soon as we hit the follow on, we declared hoping they’d set us a chase. It was always gonna be hard to get lots of wickets on that (pitch),” he said.
“There had to be declarations, get them to set us a total and us trying to chase it down, that was the only way there was going to be any result, they obviously didn’t want to play that way, that’s just how it was.”
Khawaja’s strong words for Tasmania didn’t end there, clearly frustrated by the draw.
“It speaks more about us than them, we have a pretty strong side at the moment and they probably just didn’t want to take the risk of giving us a chance to sniff a win and more points at this time of the year,” he said.
“Even when I started playing it was always very tame at the start of the year then teams started getting a bit more reckless at the end of the season when they realised they needed points. It’s nothing new to me, it is what it is.
“From my end, we can’t really say anymore, we declared, put the ball in their court. I had bowler rights, I could’ve kept batting if I wanted to, they batted for what I felt was a session too long on the first day.
“They could’ve pushed the game more on day one, I expected them to declare around lunch, that’s when you normally declare, after about four sessions, first innings declare, send the other team in.
“We would’ve scored runs, but they went on for another session, I felt a bit too long in the first innings which I didn’t really understand. I guess that was just their gameplan, they were happy to just get their first points, that’s what it was.”
The signs of Tasmania’s intentions were there on day three after the Tigers opted to send out Lawrence Neil-Smith as nightwatchman when runs appeared more important than protecting wickets.
“I was quite surprised [that Tasmania sent out a nightwatchman] because the openers came out with quite good intent, so I thought, ‘alright, they’ll put on a few quick runs and send us in tomorrow’,” Khawaja said.
“Then they sent a ‘nighty’ out and I was really rattled. That was their game-plan, it is what it is, as I said, can’t do much about it.”
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Thoughts on the Pitch
Khawaja was appreciative for the effort his bowlers displayed to continue trying to make things happen on a wicket that didn’t want to help.
“It was a great effort [from the bowlers], but it was just a bit dead, that wicket. To be honest, talking to the curator it’s a tough time to prepare wickets because you don’t get as much breakage, it’s not as hot at the moment.
“He left a lot more grass on the last game between WA and SACA and that fizzled a fair bit, at least this wicket was turning, it was spinning.
“It was just tough for the pace bowlers to get enough out of it, especially trying to get some reverse swing out of it.
“There was a little bit of reverse swing this game, I think day three, day four started seeing a little bit of reverse swing, but it just had to be one of those games where you had to chase to get a result or lose.”
Thoughts on Bryce Street’s Century
Queensland opener Bryce Street earned the recognition from his captain after posting 143 runs on day three, his highest score in first class cricket yet.
“Bryce is batting beautifully, this is his fourth hundred in first class cricket,” Khawaja said.
“he’s worked really hard on a few aspects of his game and the way he came out here and played in tough areas.
“It was reversing a bit when I came out to bat with him, it was a lot hard for the left-handers with the off-spinner bowling to the rough.
There wasn’t anything there for the ‘righties’ so he actually batted quite well, took the spin on, got a few sixes and just played really well.”
Khawaja also defended suggestions that Street needed to work on improving his strike rate.
“Nah, I’m actually the opposite, I said ‘you bat beautifully, you bat like that in test cricket you’ll win a lot of games for your team’, he will, if he plays five days there’s nothing wrong,” he said.
“The skills he has, his defence, his temperament, batting long periods of time, you can’t teach that, it’s very hard, only a few people have it, they’re the ones that are successful in four day cricket.
“There were a few avenues where I thought ‘yeah this is where you can improve your game, to do this, have better options for scoring’. He’s a good worker, a really hard worker.
“It’s nice to see that reward, the way he played this game, looking back from last year, he had the base and then he had a few more shots this innings so it was nice to see.
“There’s always the balance of making sure you don’t get too far ahead of yourself and start playing too many shots, because this game will come back and bite you. As long as he finds that balance he’ll be alright.”
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