Test spinner Nathan Lyon made a late but impressive entrance at Allan Border Field as New South Wales took control of their Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland on Wednesday.
Lyon was kept away from the attack until the 50th over of Queensland’s innings as the Bulls finished the day 9 for 216 in reply to NSW’s 368.
The 25-year-old tweaker bowled well when given his chance, claiming the scalps of Bulls Chris Hartley (11) and Cameron Boyce (0) as he ended with figures of 2 for 10 from eight overs.
Lyon’s performance will have gone a long way to ending the debate over whether Australia will pick an all-pace attack for next week’s Ashes opener in Sydney with captain Michael Clarke watching his early overs from the boundary.
Former Test bowler Trent Copeland (5-49) was the main destroyer for the Blues, picking up his 10th first-class five-wicket haul to rip through the Bulls’ top order.
Usman Khawaja (58) and Greg Moller (43) were the best of the Queensland batsmen.
Elsewhere, deposed Test gloveman Matthew Wade reminded national selectors of his abilities with an unbeaten century for Victoria in their clash with Tasmania at Bellerive.
Wade brought up his ton with a pull shot for six, also smacking 13 fours in his 186-ball 107, watched by selection panel chairman John Inverarity.
It helped the Vics to a formidable first-innings score of 6-339 after two rain-disrupted days.
The 25-year-old put on 104 with stubborn night watchman Scott Boland (51) who spent more than four hours in the middle for his 213-ball knock.
Tasmania’s bowlers shared the spoils, miserly spinner Xavier Doherty finishing with 2-42 from 26 overs.
But mystery surrounded the use of Test squad member James Faulkner (1-50), who bowled just 10 overs, most of them late in the day, after delivering seven on day one.
In Adelaide, South Australia have made an excellent start to their run chase against Western Australia, with openers Michael Klinger (76no) and Phil Hughes (63no) taking them to 0-148 at stumps in reply to WA’s first innings of 434.
WA resumed on day two at 6-269, and were well served by Ashton Agar’s classy 93 and some good hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile (41).
In Sydney, Kevin Pietersen gave his dodgy knee the work-out it needed, making a casual half-century for England a week out from his 100th Test in Brisbane.
Jonathan Trott (83) and Alastair Cook (81) also spent valuable time in the middle, as England’s top order continued to fine-tune preparations for the first Test at the Gabba by reaching 5-302 at stumps on day two of their tour match against an Invitational XI in Sydney.
Joe Root is 26 not out and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on 11.
England trail by just two runs on the first innings after Steven Finn earlier staked his claim for the first Test fast bowling vacancy for Brisbane, finishing with 5-103 to help roll the home side for 304 midway through the first session.