Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

Sean Abbott has kickstarted his Ashes audition with a six-wicket move for New South Wales against Victoria on day one of their Sheffield Shield showdown in Sydney.

Test date Marnus Labuschagne also impressed ahead of the men’s Ashes series, which began in December, with a century for Queensland in the match against Tasmania in Townsville.

Abbott – who was a member of Australia’s extended test team in the 2020-21 series against India – claimed 6-38 when Victoria crumbled to be completely out in 199.

New South Wales resume its first inning 2-43 on Thursday, after losing openers Daniel Hughes (8) and Matthew Gilkes (25) in an 18-over burst after the change of innings.

Abbott’s first victim was incumbent Test opener Marcus Harris, who fell for 9 in the sixth over when he got an edge to New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.

He returned to the bowling attack late in the morning session, dismissing former Test batsman Peter Handscomb (15) and opening James Seymour (34) in the shadow of lunch.

Matt Short (2) was Abbott’s fourth dismissal, while the fast right arm celebrated the fifth five-wicket move of his Shield career with the removal of Scott Boland (5).

Nic Maddinson was the only Victorian striker to bother New South Wales with an innings of 87, but he was Abbott’s sixth wicket when he was caught by debutant Tanveer Sangha.

Teenager Sangha enjoyed a productive first-class debut in which his leg spin earned the numbers 3-44.

Test spinner Nathan Lyon took 1-59.

Abbott will find it difficult to remove Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc from Australia’s first-choice Test attack.

But there are several narrow turns during a five-test series that has been pushed to six weeks, ensuring rotation will be on the radar of national voters.

“I would be lying if I said I had not thought about it [Ashes selection]said Abbott.

“I was on the last couple of test teams.

“But we’ve only ever really got what’s in front of us … there are still plenty of wickets to take.”

Labuschagne, Khawaja star for Qld

Marnus Labuschagne posted his 19th-century century, and Usman Khawaja continued his push for an Ashes call-up to put Queensland in the seat against Tasmania.

Queensland reached stumps on day one at 3-311, with Labuschagne (136), Joe Burns (79) and Khawaja (63 not out) helping the home side dominate with the bat.

A butcher from the Queensland Sheffield Shield kisses his helmet while celebrating that he has scored a century.
Marnus Labuschagne made 136 with the bat against Tasmania in Townsville.(Getty: Ian Hitchcock)

Labuschagne had scored 32, 8 and 45 in Queensland’s first two Shield matches this season while out with 6 in a one-day cup match against South Australia.

These results represented a rare downturn for a player who averages 60.8 in the Test arena, but Labuschagne put the recent matches behind him against Tasmania in a battle that included 15 fours and a six.

Khawaja scored 174 against South Australia earlier this month and he will aim to post another big score to boost his credentials for an Ashes call-up.

The 34-year-old has not played a test since 2019.

Burns’ half-century ensures he will also remain on the radar of national voters as the race for seats in Australia’s Ashes squad heats up ahead of the initial test at Gabba, which begins on 8 December.

Meanwhile, bad light stopped the game on day one of the Shield match between Western Australia and South Australia at the WACA track in Perth.

Western Australia were 2-42 when stumps were called, in response to South Australia’s meager first-innings totaling 128.

Cameron Green (17 not out) and Cameron Bancroft (13 not out) will resume on the field for the home team on day two.

Jhye Richardson (3-22) and Lance Morris (3-25) were the best of the Western Australian bowlers.

Jake Carder scored the top scorer for South Australia with 37.

AAP / ABC

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