The return of Test quick Ryan Harris could not stop Nic Maddinson inspiring a gutsy NSW fightback in their Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland at the Gabba.
At stumps on day two, the Blues were 6-217 in reply to the Bulls’ 9(dec)-472 thanks to the baby-faced Maddinson (115 not out).
The one-time Australian Twenty20 player dominated a 126-run stand with Sean Abbott (58) after NSW were reduced to 5-87, with to a fired-up Harris taking 1-47 off 14 overs.
In his first game in eight months, Harris bowled with venom early in his first-class return and struck in just his fourth over when Ryan Carters was caught at gully for four.
Harris toiled hard all day without luck in an encouraging return from knee surgery ahead of the Test series against India which starts at the Gabba on December 4.
Asked about his return, the tough marking Harris quipped: “Go and ask the captain – he was the one who took me off.
“The first few overs were okay but the end was disappointing, not to be able to put enough dots in the right spot – that was probably a bit of (lack of) match fitness as well.
“The legs are a bit heavy and the knee is a bit sore but it was a good day for the team.”
Luke Feldman (4-54) was the pick of the Queensland quicks.
The sight of Harris back in action would have brought a smile to the face of resident national selector Trevor Hohns.
But not everything at the Gabba on Monday would have been to his liking.
Bulls gloveman Chris Hartley hopes to be in the mix if Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (shoulder) is ruled out ahead of the first Test against India.
However, he missed a chance to impress with the bat when he was caught behind for a second-ball duck.
It was a rare failure in the Queensland innings as the hosts picked up where opener Joe Burns (183) left off on Sunday.
Peter Forrest (93) and Nathan Reardon (95) missed out on tons after Queensland resumed on Monday at 3-326.
And Test spinner Nathan Lyon (0-91) also did himself no favours in front of Hohns on Monday.
The NSW offie rarely beat the bat in a worrying sign ahead of the first Test.
Time is running out for Lyon to overcome his lacklustre form which yielded just 14 Test wickets this year, capped by a horror series against Pakistan.