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Paine falls cheaply in Shield comeback

Tim Paine has fallen for six as Tasmania battled to 147 in the former Test captain’s Sheffield Shield cricket return against Queensland.

Wicketkeeper Paine had not played at the top level since April last year following revelations of a 2017 sexting controversy.

He took a summer-long break from the sport but has been training with the Tasmania squad and made a successful return in Hobart grade action last Sunday.

Sent in by Bulls captain Usman Khawaja in gloomy conditions in Brisbane, Tasmania limped to 5-59 which brought Paine to the crease shortly after lunch on day one.

He got off the mark with a crisp straight drive for three, but was caught by Matthew Renshaw after edging a cut shot off former Tasmanian teammate Gurinder Sandhu (2-18) in a 19-ball stay.

Paine had earlier received a warm welcome by the hosts, Bulls assistant and former Test quick Andy Bichel offering a warm embrace as they chatted before play.

Speaking to media nearby as part of Australia’s Twenty20 squad, fellow former captain Steve Smith said Paine would “absolutely” be welcomed back by players into the national fold.

“I’m sure he’s excited,” Smith said.

“It’s great to see him back doing what he loves; he’s just down the road so I wish him all the best in this game.

“Phone’s always on so if he’s around (to catch up), yeah no reason why not.”

The Tigers fell to 8-93 but scraped to 147 thanks to offspinner Jarrod Freeman’s 44 off 65 at the redeveloped Allan Border Field.

Mark Steketee (4-43) was the main destroyer on Thursday for the Bulls, while opening partner Michael Neser (3-42) struck in the first over of the day.

Spinner Mitchell Swepson wasn’t named to play for Queensland after being called into Australia’s Twenty20 squad to face England on Sunday in Perth.

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