Queensland quick Michael Neser is knocking down the selection door ahead of the Ashes while Usman Khawaja can remind selectors of his worth again, according to Andrew Symonds.
Neser, 31, has been on the fringes of the Australian side for years and on day one of the Sheffield Shield final showed why.
The medium-fast quick took the outstanding figures of 5-27 to help bowl NSW out for 143 on Thursday, including one stunning inswinger to remove Matthew Gilkes.
“It’s like the extra Test match in the Australian summer the Shield final and it’s held in very high regard by everyone – players, coaches and selectors – and he’s again thrown his hand up saying ‘pick me, pick me’,” Symonds told foxsports.com.au.
“He bowled superbly.”
Neser has 17 wickets at 23.35 in six matches during the 2020/21 season.
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On a tricky wicket to bat on, NSW’s young batting line-up was exposed as Neser as well as new ball partner Jack Wildermuth took nine wickets between them.
Symonds said the sustained pressure from the entire Bulls side didn’t allow NSW to feel comfortable at any point.
“Queensland did their homework really well and kept the ball away from their strong zones,” he said.
“Neser had good support from Jack Wildermuth, who bowled beautifully as well. But all the Queensland bowlers, there wasn’t an easy period through the NSW innings where they got away from Queensland, they just kept on hammering away and we saw a complete bowling performance.”
Axed Australian opener Joe Burns failed to make the most of his start, as he edged Josh Hazlewood behind for 20.
Opener Bryce Street (14) and Marnus Labuschagne (23) saw the Bulls to stumps and will start day two at 1-58.
Against an all Australian bowling line up, Symonds said the final represented a chance for Queensland’s batsmen to put their names up in front of Justin Langer.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for Burns purely because he’s playing against an international bowling attack,” Symonds said.
“It’s the same for Khawaja and he would love to force his way back. There’s nothing like scoring a Shield hundred in a final and then going on to win the game. He’s on the second half of his career, isn’t he? So this is his time, if he can get a big score in this game it won’t do him any harm.”
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