Qld dominates play in Pura Cup final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld dominates play in Pura Cup final

By Dave Donaghy 27/03/2006 07:10:18 PM Comments (0)

Queensland captain Jimmy Maher refused to offer mercy to a stunned Victorian outfit as records crumbled in a near-farcical fourth day of the Pura Cup final at the Gabba.

Needing only a draw to take the title, Maher made good on his promise to "bat and bat and bat" and kept his team out in the middle until midway through the final session, finally declaring at a phenomenal 6-900.

It gave his side an amazing 556-run lead over the Bushrangers who were dismissed in their first innings for 344 on the second day.

The Bulls' return was the fifth highest score in Australian first class history and 11th around the world.

It also equalled the record for the most centuries in an innings with Maher (223), Shane Watson (201no), Clinton Perren (173) and Martin Love (169).

Watson had to retire hurt with severe cramps, and Perren produced a record 329-run fourth wicket stand.

It was Queensland's highest fourth-wicket partnership and followed Love and Maher's 297-run second-wicket stand on Sunday.

In reply to the Bulls' record-breaking romp, the Victorian batsman made the insipid wicket look like it was lined with land mines as they collapsed to 2-38 at stumps, still 518 runs in arrears.

Fiery left-armer Mitchell Johnson (2-13) claimed both wickets for the hosts while first innings century-maker Brad Hodge looks settled on 28 not out.

Tuesday's final day will be one of celebration for Queensland but questions are being raised at how a competition that heavily rewards results can be decided by a final that can be won without one.

Regardless, it's a case of sweet revenge for the Bulls, and in particular Maher, after they were on the receiving end of a similar annihilation in the 2003-04 decider.

On that occasion, Maher gave the Bushrangers first use of a dry and lifeless Junction Oval track and watched in despair as they made 710 after batting for the greater part of three days.

Queensland's first innings spanned 242 overs with Victoria forced to toil in the field for more than 16 hours.

Only a late spurt from rookie quick Dirk Nannes (3-150) salvaged some pride for the visitors with Andy Bichel, James Hopes and Perren falling in quick succession just before the declaration was made.

Nannes, Mick Lewis (1-156), Shane Harwood (0-152), Jon Moss (0-108) and Cameron White (0-139) all had more than 100 runs taken from their bowling.

That was another Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield record - but not one the Bushrangers would want to take home with them.

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