Performance with the ball was a major talking point for the Redbacks heading into the clash against Queensland, and the bowling unit responded positively from the opening over. Chadd Sayers could easily have had Bryce Street on the fifth ball of the game had the umpire given a boisterous LBW appeal his approval.
The sixth over, bowled by Daniel Worrall, would bear fruit however, as Joe Burns edged one through to Harry Nielsen to see Queensland lose their first wicket for 10 runs. Sayers then claimed the huge wicket of Marnus Labuschagne the next over for a duck and the Redbacks had the visitors 2/11.
The pace quartet of Sayers, Worrall, Wes Agar and Liam Scott also piled on the pressure through dot balls and maidens. Agar’s first 11 overs went for just 21 runs while Scott didn’t give up a run until his fifth over, and after eight overs had figures of 0/2.
An Instant Classic
Some catches are clearly destined for the top shelf on first viewing, but some are elevated even further with the assistance of video replay. When Henry Hunt dove to his left at bat pad and caught an attacking push from the bat of Street, it was clear from the reactions of those around him that it was a special grab.
Only on replay, however, did it become apparent just how good it was. With minimal reaction time, Hunt managed to get his left mitt to the ball in time, only to lose his grip while falling to the turf. Keeping a cool head, Hunt then gloved the ball in his right hand before protecting it as he clattered to the deck, sealing one of the catches of the season to date and removing the well-set Street.
A Sparkling Ton
Usman Khawaja batted superbly on day one, bringing up his century in the first over of the final session. Possessing his full range of crisp, technically gifted shots, Khawaja found the boundary 20 times throughout the day, clearing it twice.
Despite several close misses, including a difficult dropped chance and a huge appeal off what would turn out to be a no-ball, Khawaja was in control throughout the day. The score is the classy left-handers first score over 50 this season, and another brilliant innings amongst many across the competition's opening rounds. When combined with the poise of Matt Renshaw and pace of Jimmy Peirson's half-century, Khawaja batted his side into a strong position at stumps on the opening day.
Never in Doubt
If there was one thing certain before the day’s play, it was that Callum Ferguson would find a way to involve himself in his final first-class fixture. Despite finding himself in the field on day one, the Redbacks veteran had advanced his stat lines by stumps, reeling in his 75th catch while wearing the baggy red cap.
In a carbon copy of the earlier disallowed wicket, Agar found Khawaja's edge and the ball flew to Ferguson at first slip where he graciously accepted it. Sitting seventh on the all-time list for catches in South Australian colours, Ferguson would need another 10 to draw level with Peter Sleep in sixth spot. Unlikely? Sure. Possible? Alright, it may be a stretch…