Jhye Richardson got his hand up for an Ashes call-up with a superb bowling effort as Western Australia rocked Queensland for 129 on day one of their Sheffield Shield encounter at the Gabba, with fellow Test hopeful Usman Khawaja playing a lone hand.
The WA speedster crushed the Bulls on their home field in front of Australian chairman of selectors George Bailey, less than a month before the first Test against England at the same stadium.
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On a green Gabba pitch, the whippy right-armer bowled with considerable heat and a disciplined stump-to-stump line to end with 3-38 from 14 overs, drawing the outside edge for two of his three wickets.
Richardson made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Brisbane a little less than three years ago, playing both games in that series, but hasn’t been seen at the level since, with shoulder injuries limiting his availability.
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After a two-year break from first-class cricket, the 25-year-old has played three Shield matches in a row, taking 11 wickets at an average of 16.09.
Queensland captain Khawaja, on the other hand, tightened his grip on Australia’s opening position alongside David Warner with a tenacious 138-ball performance of 70 in difficult batting circumstances.
Khawaja came in at number four with the Bulls in difficulty at 2-8 in the fifth over after back-to-back wickets from left-armer Joel Paris, and he saw out the hat-trick ball confidently.
On 23, the exquisite left-hander made the most of his life when opposition skipper Shaun Marsh dropped a regulation catch at first slip off former Queensland paceman Cameron Gannon, who went on to lose his wicket.
Khawaja’s season tally now stands at 396 at 79.2, including two triple-figure scores to go with today’s half-century, putting him ahead of Victorian Marcus Harris in the race for a long-awaited Australian recall.
Paris struck early, dismissing tenacious opener Bryce Street for a 15-ball duck and Test No.3 Marnus Labuschagne first ball en route to figures of 2-19 from nine overs.
Richardson made it 3-8 with a short ball that ex-Test opener Joe Burns (eight) miscued to Lance Morris at mid-on.
Morris (4-21 from 10.1 overs) quickly joined the celebration, taking the wickets of Matthew Renshaw, who toiled hard for 50 balls for his nine, and Jimmy Peirson (four).
He got a handful of late scalps, including Khawaja, who was caught at fine-leg by Test allrounder Cameron Green while attempting a 12th boundary.
Josh Philippe, Australia’s limited-overs gloveman, was outstanding behind the wickets, grabbing four catches, one a superb one-handeder diving full stretch to his right to eliminate Peirson.
Aside from Khawaja, only Gurinder Sandhu (13) and Mark Steketee (10) scored in double figures.
Jayden Goodwin, 19, was handed his debut cap earlier in the day by his father, ex-WA, and Zimbabwe batsman Murray.
Goodwin, who scored a century for WA Premier Cricket club Subiaco-Floreat on Saturday, will bat first alongside Cam Bancroft after the regular opener and fellow left-hander Sam Whiteman was ruled out with delayed onset concussion.