Classic Sheffield Shield innings: 35-31

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

View numbers 40-36 on the list here

35. Jimmy Maher (Qld) 170 v Tasmania, Jan 2005

Queensland won by 168 runs

Queensland captain Jimmy Maher produced one of the great solo knocks in recent Shield history to help put his side top of the table and en route to the 2004-05 final.

Maher, who sits 15th on the all-time Shield run-scorers list, played 26 ODIs for Australia but his international career was over by the time this match rolled around, despite his ambition still burning.

Earlier the same month, he had missed selection for an Australia A side that played one-day matches against the touring Pakistan and West Indies squads.

"I was disappointed not to make the A side," said Maher, who was 30 at the time. "It felt like a bit of a kick in the guts, especially because when the side was selected I was averaging 50 in both forms of the game (this season).

"I certainly don't want to be forgotten and I've still got big aspirations to play at a higher level.

"The only way to do that is keep putting big scores in front of the people that count."

That was very much the case on day three of this Shield clash at Bellerive, after Queensland went into their second innings with a 68-run lead and their eye on first place on the Shield ladder with the final looming.

By lunch that advantage had already passed 100, as Queensland moved to 0-40 with Maher unbeaten on 29 and looking in irresistible touch.

Thereafter, the left-hander simply flayed the Tigers attack to all parts, moving to 115 between lunch and tea and generally tracking at around two-thirds his team's total.

In the final session he added another 55 in quick time, before being the ninth man out – run-out by Xavier Doherty after slipping over – for a stunning 170 from just 217 balls.

The five-hour blitz, which included 22 fours, made up 68 per cent of Queensland's runs off the bat, with no other player passing 20 in the total of 271.

"Obviously it would have been nice if we as a group had got another 50 runs but sometimes that's the way it happens," Maher said. "There's plenty of life still left in that wicket so I'm confident we've got enough (runs) if we bowl well."

Maher's performance handed Queensland a lead of 339, which never looked in danger on the final day when Tasmania lost wickets regularly to be eventually bowled out for 171.

Maher's 170 had been slightly more than the winning margin of 168, while the six points gained put Queensland on top of the ladder, which ultimately led to them hosting the final against NSW, a match they lost by one wicket.

First inns: Qld 401 (Philipson 119; Griffith 5-128)

Second inns: Tas 333 (Di Venuto 79; Bichel 4-53)

Third inns: Qld 271 (Maher 170; Griffith 4-85)

Fourth inns: Tas 171 (Dawson 38; Hopes 4-39)

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34. Ed Cowan (Tas) 152 v WA, Dec 2009

Tasmania won by one wicket

Fresh off a career-high 225 in just his fourth Shield game for Tasmania, Ed Cowan was at it again with this fourth-innings epic that helped his side down Western Australia in one of the more dramatic finishes of recent times.

Cowan's move from his native New South Wales had paid dividends with a regular spot at the top of the Tassie order, and the left-hander made a patient 48 from 126 balls in his side's first innings total of 5d-296 in response to WA's 8d-442.

It was a bold declaration from Tigers skipper George Bailey, who surrendered first-innings points for the potential prize of an outright win, and when WA declared midway through the morning of day four, setting the hosts a target of 348 at an asking rate of just over four per over, it was very much game on.

Cowan and Jon Wells (43) laid a solid platform with a century stand in 37 overs, but with the Tigers 2-147 at tea and 201 runs still needed from the final 36 overs, a gear shift was needed.

Cowan and Bailey provided exactly that, the latter providing a crucial cameo of 43 from 48 balls, but it was the opener who played the critical hand; after scoring his first 50 from 115 balls, he paced himself expertly to score his next hundred runs from 107 balls.

With 54 needed from 58 balls, Cowan was the fifth man out for a superb 152 (227), and the Tigers eventually sealed victory on the final ball of the match, with one wicket in hand.

Cowan finished the season as the Shield's second-highest run-maker with 957 at 53.16, but the opening bat would have to wait another couple of years before making his Test debut in the 2011-12 summer.

Either side of his international career, he maintained a voracious appetite for run-scoring in the Shield, producing a number of outstanding knocks for Tasmania, including a couple more that narrowly missed inclusion on this list.

First inns: WA 8d-442 (Towers 123, Ronchi 122; Geeves 3-90)

Second inns: Tas 5d-296 (Doolan 135; Voges 3-38)

Third inns: WA 4d-201 (Voges 90no; Geeves 2-50)

Fourth inns: Tas 9-351 (Cowan 152; Hogan 3-64)

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33. Brad Hodge (Vic) 286no v Qld, Nov 2007

Victoria won by 276 runs

There was a time there where Brad Hodge's batting powers were such that he could seemingly forecast his own monster scores.

Such was the case in the early stages of the 2007-08 Sheffield Shield, when the Victoria No.3 made a patient 93 in an innings win over Tasmania in Hobart.

"I'd like to double that score somewhere around the corner, maybe even triple, who knows?' Hodge said on November 10. "I feel there's a real urge for some runs."

Just 11 days later, he was walking off the Gabba after making an unbeaten 286 in one of the more remarkable Shield clashes this century.

The Vics had been shot out for just 113 on day one at the Gabba and the hosts had responded by racking up 341. However, the match turned on the fortunes of a couple of Queensland quicks: Ashley Noffke, who had taken 6-33 and top scored with 82, tore a hamstring while batting; and veteran Andy Bichel, in what proved to be his final first-class match, broke a finger.

And as Vics opener Nick Jewell later observed: "It's not too often you get to the Gabba and they haven't got (Michael) Kasprowicz, Noffke and Bichel."

At the close of play on day two, Victoria were 2-73, still trailing by 155 but with Jewell (40no) and Hodge (0no) sensing an opportunity against a weakened opposition.

Three sessions later, both batters were still there, having put together an unbroken stand of 353 in which Hodge played the dominant hand, registering his eighth first-class double century shortly before stumps.

Despite repeated attempts to stem the scoring via a bouncer barrage and routinely placing seven men on the fence, Queensland captain Jimmy Maher was powerless as the Victoria pair capitalised on the depleted Bulls attack and inflicted on the hosts what remains statistically their worst day in the history of the Shield.

The following morning, as Jewell departed without adding to his overnight score of 188, Hodge continued the assault, slapping another 84 runs in just 21 overs before Victoria declared at 5-581.

The six-Test batter had hammered 34 fours and four sixes in his 286no from 385 balls (SR 74.29), registering the highest third-innings score in the Shield since Sir Donald Bradman's benchmark 452no back in 1930.

And the performance was capped off in the afternoon by the Vics attack, who rolled Queensland for 77 to complete a 276-run win, and the second-biggest turnaround (504 runs) in the competition's history.

First inns: Vic 113 (Quiney 31; Noffke 6-33)

Second inns: Qld 341 (Noffke 82; Wise 3-63)

Third inns: Vic 5d-581 (Hodge 286no, Jewell 188; Nye 2-89)

Fourth inns: Qld 77 (Hartley 26; McKay 4-31)

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32. Andrew McDonald (Vic) 163 v WA, Oct 2010

Victoria won by eight wickets

The pre-play omen for Andrew McDonald had been an ominous one. As he and Aaron Finch – Victoria's not out batters heading into day two of the Shield clash with WA at the WACA – walked to the ground that morning, McDonald was set upon by an angry male duck after the pair evidently came too close to his ducklings.

"He got on top of my backpack and started chipping away at my head – it was a savage attack, (I'm) lucky to survive," McDonald laughed at the close of play. "I never knew they could be so feisty."

After the day he'd just enjoyed, he had plenty of reasons to be in a light-hearted mood.

Victoria had made it to 3-228 on a rain-affected day one, and the defending Shield champions clearly felt the need to push the pace the following morning. McDonald, who at that point had played the most recent of what would be his only four Tests around 18 months earlier, was still a Cricket Australia contracted player, and was hoping to push his cause for the national white-ball sides, if not for the upcoming Ashes Test squad.

He had also developed into one of the most damaging middle-order hitters in Australian domestic cricket.

"He was playing red-ball cricket like a combination of one-day and T20 cricket," then Vics coach Greg Shipperd told recently. "He was just all over the domestic bowlers at the time. He peeled off a number of mind-blowing hundreds."

And this was perhaps the pick of them.

Not out nine overnight, McDonald – playing his first Shield match since the previous season's victorious final – quickly got into stride, moving to his half-century from just 60 balls and racing past young Finch, who had started the day on 35.

From there, it was an explosion of shot-making, as the powerful right-hander scored his next hundred runs from just 49 balls, in only 62 minutes.

As the partnership flew past 200 and the score surged past 400, McDonald surpassed his previous highest first-class score of 150. Incredibly, he was out before the lunch break, having added 154 to his overnight total in 36 overs.

His final tally of 163 from 116 balls included 21 fours and seven sixes, in a batting blitz that had lasted a tick over two hours and made up 74 per cent of a 219-run stand with Finch (84).

After the Vics were bowled out in the middle session for 529, they had the hosts 4-108 at stumps, and they were all out the next morning for 190, with Darren Pattinson claiming innings figures of 8-35.

Despite WA producing a drastically improved batting effort to make 400 in their follow-on innings, the Vics cruised to their target of 62 for the loss of just two wickets before tea on the final day.

A month later, McDonald scored twin hundreds against eventual runners-up New South Wales, and despite finishing the Shield campaign as the only batter to post three hundreds, he was never able to force his way back into the national side.

First inns: Vic 529 (McDonald 163, Finch 84; Duffield 3-92)

Second inns: WA 190 (Pomersbach 54; Pattinson 8-35)

Third inns: WA 400 (Swart 104; Wright 2-38)

Fourth inns: Vic 2-64 (Finch 26; Hogan 1-13)

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31. Jake Weatherald (SA) 152 & 143, November 2017

South Australia won by five wickets

WA captain Mitch Marsh said Redbacks opener Jake Weatherald "stole the game" while the man himself said he "ran on adrenaline" during a remarkable final-day run chase and amid 35c temperatures at the WACA Ground in 2017.

Weatherald's match double of 152 (160) and 143 (281) showcased the versatility of the NT-born left-hander, and drew comparisons with David Warner as well as some speculation he could bolt into calculations to partner the Aussie opener in that summer's Ashes.

After WA piled on 7d-514, Weatherald led a rapid Redbacks response with a rollicking 152 in a little over three hours on the second afternoon, the hard-hitting opener smashing 27 fours and a six in the process.

In the face of WA's massive first-innings total, Weatherald kept his side in the match almost singlehandedly (Alex Carey's 46no was next best score) but the visitors still trailed by 151 when they were bowled out for 363.

The Redbacks' excellent pace attack then helped bring the contest to life, shooting out WA for 173 in 52.5 overs on day three, and by stumps, Weatherald was back in the middle, unbeaten on 17 with the score 1-54 in pursuit of 325.

After nightwatchman Joe Mennie was dismissed for 11 in the first hour of the final morning, Weatherald joined forces with Callum Ferguson (88) for the next three-and-a-half hours, the two producing a 180-run partnership that set the platform for victory.

Weatherald's century came up from 186 balls – 73 fewer than his first-innings effort – as he assessed the circumstances and played accordingly.

When Ferguson departed with 70 runs still required, Weatherald pressed on, taking his side to within seven runs of victory before he was finally out for a splendid, match-winning 143.

Moments later, Jake Lehmann hit the winning runs and the South Australians had completed their highest-ever run chase at the WACA Ground, thanks largely to the efforts of Weatherald, who became the first Redback to score a hundred in each innings of a Shield match since Darren Lehmann in 1999-2000.

"It was pretty tough but we were inspired – we hadn't won a game this year," Weatherald said. "Callum was a calm head out there, and we ran on adrenaline."

First inns: WA 7d-514 (Bancroft 228no; Mennie 3-130)

Second inns: SA 363 (Weatherald 152; Richardson 4-90)

Third inns: WA 173 (S Marsh 52; Mennie 3-28)

Fourth inns: SA 5-325 (Weatherald 143, Ferguson 88; Holder 3-45)