Australia’s fast bowling stocks have suffered another blow with former Test paceman Ben Hilfenhaus to miss up to a month with the recurrence of a side strain.
Hilfenhaus opened the bowling on day two of Tasmania‘s Sheffield Shield clash with NSW at Bellerive but managed just five overs for figures of 0-12 before he was forced to leave the ground.
The 30-year-old underwent a MRI scan on Saturday afternoon, revealing a mild strain related to a rib problem Hilfenhaus has carried throughout his career.
He will miss 2-4 weeks after also breaking down with a similar problem during the last of his 27 Tests, in Hobart against Sri Lanka 12 months ago.
NSW young gun Kurtis Patterson (52no) and paceman Trent Copeland (54no) were leading a fightback as the Blues reached 5-200 at stumps in reply to Tasmania’s first innings of 354.
The pair put on 98 after their side had been 5-102, 20-year-old Patterson making his first Shield 50 since becoming the youngest player to score a Shield century two years ago on debut.
In Melbourne, centuries to Callum Ferguson and Phil Hughes have South Australia in control of their clash with Victoria at the MCG.
But the Bushrangers, who trailed by 225 on the first innings, have shown more fight early in their second to be 0-78 at stumps on Saturday’s second day, still 147 behind.
Aaron Finch, a star in the game’s shorter forms who had struggled in his two previous Shield games this season, was unbeaten on 39, with Rob Quiney on 31.
The pair were untroubled, with their unbroken stand the Bushrangers’ biggest of the match, after they were skittled for just 118 in the first innings on Friday.
Hughes, looking to revive his stop-start Test career, helped SA capitalise on that strong start by notching his second century in three Shield games.
He was dismissed for 103 shortly before lunch on Saturday, after a 98-run fourth-wicket stand with Ferguson.
Ferguson, playing just his second Shield game of the season, showed sparkling form, with 12 fours and one six in his 110, bringing up his ton with three boundaries in five balls off seamer Clint McKay.
And Luke Pomersbach put his former state to the sword, hitting an unbeaten century to give Queensland first-innings points in their match against Western Australia at the WACA Ground.
Pomersbach is playing his first match of the season for Queensland in any form of cricket and has scored his first Shield century for the Bulls to be 137 not out at stumps.
The Warriors fought to make 254 in their first innings after crumbling to 5-47 on the opening day thanks to 96 from Mitch Marsh and 61 from Sam Whiteman in a sixth-wicket partnership of 151, but the Bulls’ batsmen have looked untroubled in almost 75 overs at the crease.
WA were always up against it when deciding to bat first despite rain delaying play by three hours on Friday and constant interruptions over the next day-and-a-half.
And with the weather clearing, Queensland have the best batting conditions of the match at their disposal and are taking full advantage.
At stumps on day two, Queensland were 3-255 with Pomersbach to resume with nightwatchman Nathan Hauritz who was yet to score.
WA will be without Marcus North for the rest of the match after the death of his older brother Lucas on Friday. The former Test batsman was replaced in the team by Luke Towers.