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Marnus fires, youngster spins Bulls to win

Marnus Labuschagne has fired with bat and ball in Townsville, while spinner Matt Kuhnemann starred with a 10-wicket match haul as Queensland completed a 96-run Sheffield Shield win over Tasmania.

The Tigers were outclassed throughout the opening three days, having been set a victory target of 438 on Friday after Usman Khawaja’s declarations at 6-487 and 1-132.

Tasmania opener Caleb Jewell led a spirited fightback, threatening to post the second hundred of his first-class career after rallying Tasmania to 3-173 on Saturday.

But Labuschagne, whose legspin snapped England’s stubborn ninth-wicket stand that threatened to deny Australia victory in the decisive fourth Test of the 2019 Ashes, stepped up.

Jewell was trapped lbw by Labuschagne on 90, misreading a ball that turned sharply as his side slumped to 9-277.

Labuschagne, who was fined for excessive appealing earlier this month, punched the air with both fists and was mobbed by teammates after the umpire raised his finger.

A stubborn 64-run last-wicket stand between Jarrod Freeman (41no) and No.11 Riley Meredith (20) merely delayed the inevitable, with Tasmania eventually being bowled out for 341.

Kuhnemann, having snared a career-best 5-60 in Tasmania’s first innings, finished with match figures of 10-167 after taking 5-107 in the second innings.

The left-armed tweaker removed Charlie Wakim then inflicted a collapse of 4-38 with the scalps of Jake Doran, captain Beau Webster, Tom Andrews and Lawrence Neil-Smith.

Labuschagne was one of seven bowlers that Khawaja used in Tasmania’s second innings.

The star batter, who put the game on Queensland’s terms with a first-innings knock of 136 then raced to 60 not out in 46 balls on day three, finished with figures of 1-68 from 19 overs.

“Marnus and Joe Burns, the way they batted day one set it up,” Khawaja said.

“And obviously (Kuhnemann) … to get 10 wickets doesn’t happen very often. He’s bowled beautifully the last couple of games without having the rewards, so I’m really happy for him.

“I love having him in the team. From a captain’s point of view, it’s really satisfying when someone grinds through the gears, works on his art and comes through the other side and gets a five-for first innings and five-for in the second innings.”

Kuhnemann, who made his first-class debut in February, thrived after being given a chance to shine in the absence of World Cup squad member Mitchell Swepson.

The defending champions’ attack was also depleted by the absence of pacemen Michael Neser and Mark Steketee.

Former Tasmania seamer Gurinder Sandhu, playing his first Shield game for the Bulls, trapped Jordan Silk lbw for a third-ball duck in Saturday’s morning session and finished with figures of 1-40.

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