Cricbuzz Staff •
Alex Carey fell two-short of a sparkling century. © Getty
Top-placed Queensland survived a final day fright from a gallant South Australia to move a step closer to booking a berth in the Shield final.
The Bulls took the necessary six wickets to claim the important 118-run victory but it was tougher work than expected as they had to overcome aggressive counterattacking knocks from South Australia captain Travis Head (85) and wicketkeeper Alex Carey (98).
Chasing 466 and resuming at 82 for 4 after a horrendous collapse late on day three, Head was SA’s main hope and he launched an audacious counterattack to rattle the Bulls in the first session. Not content with stonewalling, Head smashed a slew of cracking boundaries square of the wicket on the small Adelaide Oval ground.
He smashed an 86-ball 82 punctuated by 14 boundaries as a miraculous victory was suddenly not totally out of the picture. Head combined in a 99-run partnership with gritty nightwatchman Joe Mennie, who made a hard-fought 38 before he was trapped lbw to seamer Brendan Doggett.
Just before lunch, Head’s dazzling innings ended when he was bowled by Jack Wildermuth as Queensland breathed a bit easier and sensed victory. But Carey – fresh off Australia’s tri-series triumph – had other ideas as he smashed the nervous Bulls attack in a similar fashion to his skipper.
Carey enjoyed a 108-run partnership with gritty No.9 Adam Zampa, who top-scored in SA’s woeful first innings with a half-century. Just when some genuine excitement was starting to swirl as the deficit came close to under 100, Head agonisingly fell just shy of a deserved ton to the hard-working Doggett. The final three wickets fell in seven balls as the Bulls’ inevitable victory belatedly arrived.
Victory ensured Queensland enjoy a handy buffer at the top of the ladder, while SA are anchored at the bottom.
Brief Scores: Queensland 342 & 285/8 decl. (Marnus Labuschagne 62; Nick Winter 3-55) beat South Australia 162 & 347 (Alex Carey 98; Brendan Doggett 5-77) by 118 runs.