New South Wales Blues seamer Trent Copeland has celebrated his 32nd birthday with an outstanding bowling performance on day one of the round 10 Sheffield Shield match against Queensland at North Dalton Park in Wollongong.
Copeland claimed 5-74 on the opening day for the Blues, who had Queensland in trouble early in the second session at 6-117 before the visitors recovered to be bowled out for 243.
At stumps, the Blues were 0/41 with both the NSW openers unbeaten at the crease. Nick Larkin finished the day 19 not out, Daniel Hughes was 17 not out.
Copeland bowled an unbelievable spell of 21 overs unchanged over the first two sessions which returned figures of 5-55. He was involved in seven of the ten Queensland wickets to fall courtesy of two sharp catches at first slip.
Former Australian opening batsman Joe Burns returned to Shield cricket in style for Queensland. He fell agonisingly short of his third century of the season. He scored 97 from 171 balls before he was caught at deep point from the bowling of Harry Conway (2-49).
His innings included 10 boundaries and he was the seventh batsman dismissed for Queensland.
Copeland said it was a great way to celebrate his birthday.
“Yeah it was certainly, we mentioned before the game yesterday we (thought) that bowling first was the ideal here, the wicket generally gets better as the game goes on,” Copeland said.
“Good toss to win and we made the most of the conditions today, not just me but all the bowling group.”
“Great result to have them bowled out and then to finish the day none down, we’ve got some nice momentum leading into tomorrow.”
NSW won the toss and elected to bowl first under some overcast skies and the hosts made the ideal start as Matt Renshaw (8) played on to give Copeland his first.
Marnus Labuschagne (17) was the new man to the crease and he added 40 runs with Burns before Copeland broke his defences to claim his second of the opening session.
Burns continued to bat with purpose and guided his team to 2-87 at lunch, but he lost yet another partner shortly after the interval when Charlie Hemphrey (13) played an errant drive and was caught by Copeland in the slips to give Conway his first scalp.
There was no stopping Burns as he passed his half-century and punished anything a little too wide or over-pitched. However, the wickets continued to fall at the opposite end.
Sam Heazlett (11) was the next to go, lbw to Copeland in the 37th over.
Jack Wildermuth quickly followed bowled by the Blues seamer for a second ball duck and Copeland was on fire.
“My attributes suit these kind of conditions this morning … the wicket lended itself to a little bit of movement off the seam,” Copeland said.
“I pride myself on a little bit of control, and when I try and swing the ball each way or wobble the seam and nip it away from left-handers, then I have it in the right area more often than not.”
There was plenty happening at North Dalton Park as the very next over provided another opportunity when Moises Henriques narrowly missed a chance to run out Burns.
The Blues didn’t have to wait long for their next wicket though as Copeland struck again. Queensland captain Jimmy Peirson (1) was his fifth victim caught at second slip by Nic Maddinson.
Queensland had lost 3/2 in the space of two overs and 4/30 since lunch.
The visitors were reeling before Michael Neser (55) and Burns stabilised the innings for the visitors.
The pair put on 74 runs for the seventh wicket before the innings of Burns inexplicably ended. An attempted upper cut from the opening batsman to a short and wide delivery from Conway found Hughes in the deep and the Queenslanders fell to 7/191.
Neser continued to fight and despite twice being given a life, courtesy of two difficult chances that were put down, his counter-attacking knock took his state past the 200 mark.
His fine innings came to an end when caught at deep fine leg by Steve O’Keefe off the bowling of Sean Abbott (1-55).
It also ended a handy partnership between Neser and Mark Steketee (16) of 47 runs.
The spin of Steve O’Keefe (2-30) cleaned up the tail for the hosts and the visitors were bowled out 77th over.