Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2011/11/17/blues-strike-back

Blues strike back

UPDATED 24 May, 2013 9:39AM AEST | by Liam Daly at the Gabba, Sportal

New South Wales skipper Stephen O'Keefe has put a couple of holes in the Queensland sail in the middle session of Day three, picking up a pair of wickets as the visitors clawed back into contention, reducing the hosts to 5-143 at tea.

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Wade TownsendNew South Wales skipper Stephen O'Keefe has put a couple of holes in the Queensland sail in the middle session of Day three, picking up a pair of wickets as the visitors clawed back into contention, reducing the hosts to 5-143 at tea.

The Bulls grip on the Bupa Sheffield Shield tie was strong at the lunch break, but a four-wicket session from the Blues has pulled the contest back into the balance, with the lead so far 148.

Queensland's most experienced blades James Hopes (29 not out) and Chris Hartley (16 not out) will resume in the final session.

O'Keefe has now bowled 26 consecutive overs from the Stanley Street end with a return of 2-42, including 10 maidens.

Doug Bollinger has re-emerged in the Blues viewing area, but is thought to be no chance of bowling again in the game after suffering a hamstring injury.

After Josh Hazlewood did away with Wade Townsend shortly after lunch, O'Keefe took the next two scalps, tying down the Bulls stroke makers with clever fields and accurate bowling, and taking the key wickets of Peter Forrest and Chris Lynn as reward.

Queensland had seemed unfettered at 1-74, but their comfort seemed to erode over the lunch break, and with O'Keefe beginning to draw some tricks from the pitch, the momentum swung sharply.

Townsend was the first to go after lunch, adding just one run to his score before nicking finely to Nevill from the bowling of Hazlewood in the third over after the break.

Forrest came in determined to score some runs from his former Blues teammates, and with the chance to push for Australia A selection, but the compact righty's determination came to nought, when after 37 balls he pushed forward at O'Keefe and feathered an edge to be on his way for three.

Joe Burns, who had been solid at No.3 and impressive with his shot selection, was the next to go, playing a length ball with the bat away from the body and delivering the Blues keeper his fourth catch behind the stumps.

Hopes and Chris Lynn were suddenly at the crease with neither off the mark, and unfortunately for Lynn, there was no opportunity to improve on that total.

Tied down by O'Keefe and with an off-side field lying in wait, the talented 21-year-old had a snap, driving loosely at the covers but only succeeding in slicing the ball to Nic Maddinson at backward point.

Hartley came to the crease and the pint-sized gloveman was soon in his groove, moving in to double figures with the shot of the day – a textbook cover-drive that throbbed from the blade and whistled to the boundary before a fielder could react.

Hartley offered a half chance in the 70th over, when a steepler from Starc caught the splice and lobbed high behind the wicket, but the ball evaded the scrambling slips and the Queensland vice-captain loped through for a single.

Hopes continued to accumulate like the true professional he is as Queensland went to the break without further incident.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 17 November, 2011 3:53PM AEST

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