Smith’s two-metre tall roommate upstages stars

With six members of Australia’s Ashes touring party in action and much of the focus on the bat-off ahead of the Test summer, NSW paceman Harry Conway shone at the Gabba

All eyes were on Steve Smith, but it was his roommate Harry Conway who proved the standout performer on day one of a star-studded Marsh Sheffield Shield fixture as NSW unleashed an all-pace attack against Queensland at the Gabba.

The self-effacing 27-year-old was happy to deflect the plaudits after he dismantled the hosts’ batting line-up in fast bowler-friendly conditions and Smith was later out for a rare duck.

With the Blues also boasting Mitchell Starc, Trent Copeland and Sean Abbott in their battery, Conway is aware his place in the pecking order, having played just 19 first-class games.

But after collecting 5-17 from 13 immaculate overs as 13 wickets tumbled on day one, Conway said he was satisfied just playing alongside the likes of Starc and champion batsmen Smith and David Warner.

Smith dismissed for a duck in return to Shield cricket

“Just being a part of this XI is fantastic. I had to pinch myself,” Conway said.

“I’m rooming with Steve this week as well and I’ll be picking his brain.

“To bowl in front of and behind ‘Starcy’ was a real honour for me today. He’s been one of Australia’s best bowlers.

“For all three of them to be playing and giving us as much as they do, we’re obviously stoked.”

The towering right-arm quick, who stands about 200cm, claimed the key wickets of Queensland captain Usman Khawaja (1) and Ashes success story Marnus Labuschagne (69) – both trapped lbw – after the Bulls elected to bat.

He then mopped up the tail, removing Michael Neser (3), Cameron Gannon and Billy Stanlake (both ducks) cheaply.

With six members of Australia’s Ashes touring party in action and much of the scrutiny centered on the bat-off ahead of the Test summer, it was Conway who was the headline act as Queensland mustered just 150 in their first innings.

Skilled Smith bowls off-spin AND leg-spin in Shield return

He described NSW’s bowling display in the hour either side of lunch as “outstanding” and was well backed up by Abbott (3-25 from 18 overs), Copeland (1-48 from 19) and Starc (0-42 from 17).

“I didn’t come with an idea of how many overs I’d bowl – I just wanted to back up the three guys in front of me really well,” Conway said.

“I thought Sean Abbott was outstanding in particular. He’s followed on from the one-day cricket and also last year he made massive inroads in his career.

“I’m really proud of Sean.

“But I know Mitch and Trent are going to be really hard to play in the second innings. They’re too good to stay out of the game for too long.

“For me to play my role, I’m really happy and proud, but there’s three days left.”

Labuschagne posts 69 out of Queensland's 153

Labuschagne was the Bulls’ leading batsman, hitting 11 boundaries in his 140-ball stay while the rest of his teammates all failed to reach 20.

Matthew Renshaw (19), Joe Burns (13) and Khawaja, who was dropped for the last two Tests of the Ashes series, failed to stake their claims for selection for the first Test against Pakistan, starting on November 21.

“We really built (pressure) on Marnus. We had our plans to him, and I thought he played exceptionally well,” Conway said.

"But every time we were able to break open an end, we were able to get wickets in clumps.

“We kept putting a bit of pressure on him by getting his mate (batting partner) out.”