Classy Khawaja leads Bulls to Shield win

·3-min read

An unbeaten captain's century from Usman Khawaja has helped Queensland clinch a three-wicket win over Tasmania in Hobart, where the Sheffield Shield's table-toppers hauled in a target of 310.

Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne (78) did the bulk of the work in a tricky chase, putting on a 137-run partnership.

Khawaja, who has not played for Australia since the 2019 Ashes, finished 115 not out as the Bulls completed victory at 4.53pm AEDT on the final day of a topsy-turvy contest.

The 34-year-old's experience was telling as Tim Paine worked overtime throughout Saturday, trying to conjure wickets with help from an attack that was minus fast bowlers Riley Meredith (national duties) and Peter Siddle (injured thumb).

Khawaja was summoned to the middle at 2-53 after former Test paceman Jackson Bird started the day by removing first-innings centurion Joe Burns (20) and Bryce Street (21), swinging the momentum Tasmania's way.

The left-hander never panicked as batting partners came and went, putting a high price on his wicket yet ensuring the scoreboard kept ticking over during a chanceless innings.

"I try not to look at the scoreboard too much, especially my own score, but it's hard not to look at the runs you're chasing," Khawaja said.

"Sort of just counting down.

"We knew we were in for a fight ... we knew it was going to be a long day for us if we were going to win.

"They bowled absolutely beautifully after lunch for about an hour and a half. Marnie and I just couldn't get anywhere ... after that, everything clicked into gear."

Khawaja's reaction to his 30th first-class century, brought up in 181 balls when he clipped a delivery from Gabe Bell off his pads for one of his 10 boundaries, was telling.

The veteran briefly acknowledged the milestone then quickly reset his focus, knowing his side needed a further 55 runs at that stage.

Jimmy Peirson was out edging for four during the same over that Khawaja reached three figures.

The Bulls slipped to 7-297 when Nathan Ellis fired out Jack Wildermuth and Mark Steketee with consecutive balls, but that was as close as the hosts came to victory.

Labuschagne stroked eight boundaries in a composed knock, looking on track for a century until he was judged to have edged one of Beau Webster's medium-pacers during the post-lunch session.

The reaction of the world's No.3 Test batsman, who shook his head as he trudged off after being dismissed, was not dissimilar to that of his mentor Steve Smith after he was out for NSW at the SCG a day prior.

Paine's bold call to hand the second new ball to Webster was rewarded with an edge from Matthew Renshaw (21) that was gleefully accepted, but Khawaja continued to leave the ball diligently.

Bird delivered 28.4 tireless overs and 11 maidens to finish with figures of 2-59.