Michael Neser gave national selectors a welcome reminder of his all-round capabilities pounding out a boundary-filled century to go to with a five-wicket haul as Queensland dominated Tasmania in Adelaide.
The South African-born 30-year-old was an Ashes tourist last year and spent much of last summer as part of the Test squad in an indication of his place in the pecking order.
It was not only Neser’s maiden first-class hundred, which he reached with consecutive boundaries, it was also the first time since Mitchell Johnson in 2010 a player has achieved the century and five-wickets double in a Shield match.
Selectors have longed for an all-rounder and Neser, who smashed 121, with 82 in boundaries, passing 50 for the 12th time in his first class career, could be the man they are looking for.
He took up where he left off last summer, when Neser scored 481 runs at an average of 44 with five 50s and took 33 wickets at 23. Those numbers weren’t enough, however, for him to earn a Cricket Australia contract earlier this year.
But undaunted by that snub the unassuming all-rounder continued his habit of taking bags of Shield wickets on Saturday, before taking to the Tasmanian attack with his bat on Monday.
“It’s special,” Neser said after his exhausting day which included bowling eight second-innings overs.
“A couple of times I have been stranded in the 70s and 80s and it was one of my goals to score a century in Shield cricket so now that I have done it it’s a weight off my shoulders and I can focus on getting another one,” Neser said.
“I have done a lot of work on my batting, the off-season gave me a chance to do that. A bit of confidence helps.”
Michael Neser can do no wrong! ✨
The Bulls allrounder brought up his maiden century with a bang off Riley Meredith! @MarshGlobal | #SheffieldShield pic.twitter.com/SvEbepSmSd
Neser was only dismissed, caught and bowled by Beau Webster, in the search for quick runs before returning to open the bowling.
Tasmania finished the day 193 runs behind, with just seven wickets in hand going in to day four, and fielders crowding the batsmen for leg spinner Mitchell Swepson who could have a say in the proceedings.
Queensland’s Michael Neser on his way to a Sheffield Shield hundred against Tasmania at Park 25 on October 12, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
After watching the Queenslanders pile on 529 the Tassie batsmen know what’s required on day four to save the game on a wicket Webster, who is next man in, said was still pretty flat.
“We’ve got seven wickets left in the sheds and some good quality batsmen out there and a few to come,” Webster said.
“Winning the game is probably out of the question at the moment, so we’re looking to dig in and bat some long periods of time and take some confidence in to the next couple of games.”
But he said Swepson looms as a “challenge” after a tense final few overs for not out batsmen Jordan Silk and Jake Doran who got their team to stumps still only three wickets down.
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