Classic Sheffield Shield innings: 30-26

We've scoured the archives from the past 20 seasons to come up with the top 40 knocks in Australia's domestic first-class competition

40-36; 35-31

30. Wade Seccombe (Qld) 67no & 115 v SA, Nov 2003

Queensland won by 61 runs

Always adept at being the 'drummer in the band' type that his predecessor Ian Healy liked to self-effacingly label wicketkeepers, Queensland's unassuming gloveman Wade Seccombe was more than capable of stepping into the spotlight as well.

Such was the case in this Shield showdown with South Australia, when the wicketkeeper produced the sort of match-winning double that made him such an integral part of the Bulls' success through that era.

Batting first in Adelaide against a Redbacks attack led by Jason Gillespie, Queensland fell to 5-110 on day one when Seccombe and Stuart Law (75) steadied proceedings with a fighting 88-run stand. Seccombe carried on across three-and-a-half hours, finding an unlikely ally in Michael Kasprowicz at the fall of the ninth wicket and holding up an end as the No.11 clattered a quick-fire 47.

The 'keeper-batter finished unbeaten on 67 to help Queensland to a competitive 310, but when SA responded with 301 and then had the visitors 4-15 in their second innings, they were suddenly in the ascendancy.

At lunch on day three, Queensland were 5-53, with the familiar pair of Law and Seccombe having just come together again. Seccombe was dropped in the slips on 12 (a missed chance SA captain Greg Blewett would later rue as the game's turning point) and Law had a life on 48, but with some good fortune the duo survived and then prospered through the second session, pushing the lead past 180.

Law was out for 72 the stand had reached 140, and again Seccombe pressed on, this time finding support in Andy Bichel, who matched Kasprowicz's first-innings effort with 44 in quick time.

Still Seccombe remained defiant, raising a fourth first-class hundred with a cover-driven four from Paul Rofe, and when Queensland's innings was over, he was unbeaten on 115, having taken his side's lead to an imposing 283.

By stumps, South Australia were 4-24, the match was all but over, and though 17 wickets had fallen across the three sessions, Seccombe had enjoyed a day out, adding three catches to his superb hundred.

The Redbacks mounted their own comeback on day four thanks to a middle-order rear-guard, but it counted for nought in the end, Queensland finishing victors by 61 runs and Seccombe completing a match to remember with five second-innings catches.

First inns: Qld 310 (Law 75, Seccombe 67no; Davison 3-48)

Second inns: SA 301 (Flower 82; Bichel 6-61)

Third inns: Qld 274 (Seccombe 115, Law 72; Higgs 3-36)

Fourth inns: SA 222 (Higgs 71; Kasprowicz 5-84)

29. Mike Hussey (WA) 223no v Vic, Jan 2005

WA won by an innings & 107 runs

Another player who could have easily had multiple entries on this list, Mike Hussey holds a special place in his heart for this 10-hour epic at the WACA Ground because it was made against a Victoria attack that included the great Shane Warne.

By January 2005, Hussey was already in Australia's ODI side but despite having scored close to 15,000 first-class runs, he was yet to receive an opportunity at Test level.

But if he could do it against Warne, surely he could do it against anyone?

After WA rolled the visiting Vics for 155 on the opening day, Hussey and Test opener Justin Langer combined to erase most of that deficit before stumps, taking the home side to 0-129 as national selector Trevor Hohns watched on from the stands.

Hussey began day two on 69, and just as he had done in the nets as a kid, set himself to bat the next six hours. As WA's star-studded batting list – Langer, Chris Rogers, Murray Goodwin, Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, Ryan Campbell – came and went throughout a day that saw temperatures climb to 42c, the left-handed opener proved as relentless as the Perth heat.

Driving and pulling the hapless Vics quicks with aplomb, and using his feet – back in his crease and down the track – to Warne, Hussey crunched 31 fours to hand his side a massive 269-run lead at stumps on day two, by which point he had moved to 202no, with no other WA batter reaching 50.

It was his second double century of the Shield summer, and he offered just one chance throughout – an edge that was spilled by Warne at slip off Ian Harvey when he was 131.

Warne meanwhile, had toiled through 24 overs for figures of 1-84, the legendary leg-spinner becoming increasingly frustrated as a couple of vociferous lbw appeals – including one for Hussey's wicket on the last ball before lunch – went against him.

"(Hussey) would come out of the wicket so much further than anyone else," another Vics leg-spinner, Bryce McGain, told last year. "He was pretty tall and he was so quick and agile getting out of the crease; it felt like you'd just released the ball and he was already there.

"Then once he'd gotten to you on the half-volley or on the full, and forced you to bowl a bit shorter, he was so good at getting right back to his stumps.

"You'd end up thinking: How do you bowl to this guy?"

The following morning, Hussey remained unbowed, batting through another hour's play and four more WA wickets to finish 223no from 406 balls.

As well as leaving his team in a near impregnable position, it was history made for Hussey, who passed 7,000 Shield runs, jumped to fourth on WA's all-time Shield run-scorers list, and became the first player in the competition's history to carry his bat while making a double century.

Faced with an enormous mountain to climb, Victoria were skittled for 202 inside 50 overs – their total time at the crease for the match almost three hours fewer than Hussey's.

"I guess as a squad, we work pretty hard on our mental skills and the mental side of the game," he said afterward. "We've got some really good exponents of it with Justin (Langer) in the team and Damien (Martyn) as well – very good concentrators, so you just pick their brains as much as possible and learn as much as you can."

The outright win sent WA to the top of the Shield table for the first time in six years, and by year's end, Hussey was playing alongside Langer and Martyn – and Warne – in the Test team, having finally been given an opportunity and capitalising with three hundreds in his first five Tests.

First inns: Vic 155 (Arnberger 53; Williams 3-41)

Second inns: WA 464 (Hussey 223no; Harvey 4-83)

Third inns: Vic 202 (Moss 55; Williams 3-45)

28. Simon Katich (NSW) 117 & 63no v SA, Nov 2007

NSW won by seven wickets

Not a fortnight before this match, Blues captain Simon Katich had plundered a record-breaking 306 from 351 balls in a draw with Queensland at the SCG. The innings, laced with 30 fours and nine sixes, set the foundation for his record-breaking 1506-run Shield campaign in 2007-08 and is the highest through the 20-year window of this list, however Katich insists his performance against South Australia in Adelaide soon after was his best that summer.

"At the time, the two standout bowlers in the Shield were Dougy Bollinger for us, and Ryan Harris for South Australia," he told in 2020. "So the hundred I made there was probably my best innings (of the summer), just being able to set the game up, and given the way the wicket was playing and the fact it wasn't as high-scoring."

When the hosts won the toss and opted to bat, only Callum Ferguson (83) reached 20 as left-armers Nathan Bracken and Doug Bollinger claimed four wickets apiece to bowl out SA for 178 on day one.

The Blues were 3-86 and the pitch was continuing to showing signs of life when Katich entered the action on the second morning.

Harris, Jason Gillespie and Mark Cleary were all causing problems, with plays-and-misses a feature of the opening session. Katich helped bring some calm to proceedings, reaching 20no at lunch alongside Peter Forrest.

The Blues lost another three wickets through the middle session but Katich had taken them to a first-innings lead, playing fluently and punishing anything loose from off-spinner Dan Cullen as national selector Jamie Cox watched on.

The left-hander, absent from Test cricket for two years and cut from the Cricket Australia 25-man contract list, carried on at a fast clip into the final session, making it consecutive Shield hundreds before stumps.

With the score on 309 he was the last man out for a splendid 117, trapped in front by Harris.

And after the Redbacks made a better fist of their second innings, managing 291, the Blues faced a tricky run chase of 161 on a fourth-day pitch and against a fired-up home attack.

Again Katich proved the saviour. With NSW collapsing to 3-13 in the 12th over, the 32-year-old rode an early storm before he and Dom Thornely (80no) steered their side to their target.

The unbeaten three-hour 63 made it a match aggregate of 180 for Katich (which at the time only just exceeded his season average of 178.66), in a contest where only two other players reached 50.

First inns: SA 178 (Ferguson 83; Bracken 4-50)

Second inns: NSW 309 (Katich 117; Cleary 3-40)

Third inns: SA 291 (Ferguson 59; Bracken 4-57)

Fourth inns: NSW 3-162 (Thornely 80no, Katich 63no; Harris 1-23)

27. Phillip Hughes (NSW) 93 & 108 v Tas, Dec 2008

NSW lost by three wickets

Just a couple of days after his 20th birthday, Phillip Hughes' record-breaking double in Tasmania confirmed his burgeoning reputation as an Australia player-in-waiting.

The Blues' trip to Hobart was only Hughes' 12th Shield match, but he already had a century in a winning final to his name, and his potential had been recognised by selectors when he was part of an Australia A squad to tour India a couple of months earlier.

Almost 14 years on from this match, Hughes' run-scoring feats remain as the record for the highest percentage of runs scored for a team across two innings in a match, having broken a Sir Donald Bradman record that had stood for 69 years. 

Sent in by Tasmania on a typically green Bellerive deck, NSW slipped to 4-75 by lunch, at which point Hughes – cutting loose amid the carnage – was not out 51, and those watching on were already impressed.

Wrote Peter Newlinds for the ABC: "The 20-year-old let everyone watching know that here was an international player of the very near future".

The left-hander dominated a 41-run stand for the fifth wicket with Steve Smith (13), then found stronger support in Moises Henriques, who added 38 in quick time from No.7.

Together they took the score to 163 before both men were dismissed in successive balls; Hughes trapped lbw seven short of his hundred.

The Blues were bowled out for 172 a short time later, and though he had missed the milestone, Hughes had held the innings together while also claiming a personal milestone – 1000 first-class runs.

At 20 years, two days, he became the third-youngest NSW to achieve the feat behind legendary duo Doug Walters and Archie Jackson.

"That's a big honour, and I'm very happy about it," Hughes said after play. "I'd heard a lot about the second-year syndrome, and I just wanted to keep a clear head and take every day as it comes. I must say, I'm enjoying it all at the moment."

The challenges of batting in the conditions were only reinforced when the home side collapsed spectacularly to be 7-41 before stumps on day one.

A rear-guard effort by the Tigers' tail helped them to 127 but by lunch on day two, Hughes was strapping his pads on once again, preparing to enter the fray.

As it was, the fifth session of the match played out much like the first; four wickets fell, 69 runs were scored, and 55 of them were made by the stubborn stroke-maker from Macksville on the NSW North Coast.

After tea, Smith dug in alongside Hughes, his 42 proving the third-highest score for the visitors in the match and highlighting the young leg-spinning allrounder's potential as a batter.

But it was all about Hughes, and second time around, the youngster wouldn't be denied his hundred – a second of the Shield summer and the third of his first-class career taking his career tally to 1200 runs at 52.17.

After the Hughes-Smith partnership yielded 101 runs, the wheels again fell off for the Blues, Hughes finally departing for 108 amid a collapse of 6-21 that left Tasmania needing an unlikely 219 to win.

"The wicket hasn't given an outrageous amount of seam or swing but it's just done enough to get the nicks," said NSW coach Matthew Mott. "Apart from Phil Hughes, no-one has really looked in on it.

"Especially opening up, when it's been at its toughest, he's stood head and shoulders above everyone else. It's been a couple of great digs that have kept us in the game … you want to see guys get runs in all conditions, and certainly when they get tough runs in a game like this it stands out."

In the end, Tasmania defied the odds to win by three wickets – another young star in Tim Paine making a superb 59no from No.7 to guide them home – but the Blues left Hobart knowing they had a star in the making at the top of their order.

First inns: NSW 172 (Hughes 93; Denton 5-18)

Second inns: Tas 127 (Denton 48; Bracken 5-28)

Third inns: NSW 173 (Hughes 108; Marsh 3-33)

Fourth inns: Tas 7-221 (Paine 59no, Marsh 58; Bracken 3-41)

26. Jordan Silk (Tas) 108 (and others) v Qld, Mar 2013

Match drawn (Tas win the Shield)

This is of course a list of standout individual performances but in this case we've made an exception; it was impossible to split four outstanding contributions from Tasmanians in a match of such significance.

The first belonged to a 20-year-old Jordan Silk who, in just his third first-class match, batted out the entire first day of the 2012-13 Shield final to move hosts Tasmania into a strong position against Queensland, who had emerged victorious in the previous year's decider between the same two sides.

Silk was unbeaten on 82 from 291 deliveries at stumps, and kicked on to make his second first-class hundred on day two, finishing with 108 as Tasmania crawled their way to 4-240. And while Silk's innings had provided a solid platform, the innings did need some impetus against a Bulls batting line-up capable of quick runs. That came from Luke Butterworth (86), as the No.9 teamed up with James Faulkner (46) for a 125-run stand in good time that effectively put the match beyond Queensland.

With Faulkner more circumspect, Butterworth brought that show to life, cutting, pulling and driving the quicks and advancing to the spin of Nathan Hauritz to deposit him down the ground.

The partnership was largely the difference between a mid-200s total and the end product of 419, and when Queensland could only respond with 225, the Tigers were in total command.

Yet Queensland quicks Ryan Harris and James Hopes had other ideas. A stunning spell by Harris reduced Tasmania to a barely-believable 5-15, at which point the lead was just 209. At 6-56, Faulkner (89) and wicketkeeper Tim Paine (87) joined forces to steer the Tasmanians out of trouble.

Across two sessions, on a slow, uneven surface and with Queensland's pace attack extracting considerable amounts of reverse swing, the pair put together a chanceless 161-run partnership. The lead blew out to 434 by stumps and, once again, the game was in safekeeping for the hosts.

Tasmania were 7-240 in their second innings at stumps on day four, a lead of 434, ensuring the Bulls would need the highest-ever fourth-innings winning total in a Shield final to defend their title.

"It probably does (feel like it's won) a little bit," said Paine, whose half-century was his first of the Shield season. "The wicket's wearing and getting lower and lower and I think our attack will be really challenging to play tomorrow afternoon.

"Today was really pleasing to be the guy, along with James, that pulled us out of a bit of trouble.

"I can't wait to come tomorrow and look to take these 10 wickets and lift that trophy."

And while it didn't quite pan out that way – Tasmania could only prise out six Queensland wickets in 87 overs – the outcome was still a third Shield title for the island state, and a first for their legendary No.4, Ricky Ponting.

First inns: Tas 419 (Silk 108, Butterworth 86; Hopes 4-71)

Second inns: Qld 225 (Forrest 56; Gulbis 4-62)

Third inns: Tas 251 (Faulkner 89, Paine 87; Harris 4-32)

Fourth inns: Qld 6-183 (Reardon 51; Butterworth 2-30)