Marnus Labuschagne proved his star rating with a 17th first class century on Monday in a fight for rights to host a Sheffield Shield final neither team may yet get to host.
With the top-of-the-table clash between NSW and Queensland still in the balance, but looming as either a win for the ladder-leading Bulls or a draw, several factors had Cricket Australia considering a neutral venue.
Issues with COVID regulations in Queensland after the most recent outbreak, along with ground availability in NSW was impacting the decision, with Allan Border field, however, still an option.
But Melbourne or even Adelaide were on standby pending final approval.
This year’s Shield final is the latest ever, not set to start until April 15, with play already set for an earlier than normal start time each day with early-evening darkness an issue.
Queensland would earn hosting rights even if its clash with NSW ends in a draw, with bonus points factored in.
But the old days of finishing on top of the table and just needing a draw in the final to collect the Sheffield Shield are over.
In the result of a draw in the final, the match is now decided based on the same first innings bonus points rules which apply throughout the regular season.
That would mean the team with the most wickets in the first 100 overs of each first innings, and the most runs over 200 in the same period, would be declared Shield champions.
It’s understood he states are well aware of the situation regarding the neutral venue for the final, which could have been complicated further if Western Australia qualified.
Ooft! A great battle between Starc & Labuschagne in Wollongong, but Marnus survives and moves into the 90s
WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/G5ilwXsiGM#SheffieldShieldpic.twitter.com/Hjhi51WNyO
But the Warriors, who are in third and needed a win over Tasmania to lead in to the final, were in a world of pain on day three after being dismissed for 219, which was 295 runs behind the Tigers’ first innings.
At Wollongong Test spinner Nathan Lyon took six wickets for NSW but it was to no avail as a century from Labuscharge, after enduring a torrid time from national teammate Mitchell Starc, set the tone for the day.
Queensland took a 52 lead on the first innings on the back of 112 off 212 balls from Labuschagne, who now has 13 first class hundreds in the past two years and three this Shield season.
Lyon is set to finish the Shield season as the leading wicket taker with 38 from his eight games, having played every match for NSW with the final to come.
NSW was 2-49 at stumps on day three, still three rus behind Queensland going in to the final day.
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