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Starc fails to fire for NSW in Shield

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 Laine Clark

The return of Test spearhead Mitchell Starc has not been able to blunt a Joe Burns-inspired Queensland in their day-night Sheffield Shield clash at the Gabba.

But Bulls centurion Burns said Starc had shown enough to indicate he was ready for next week's first Test against South Africa in Perth.

At stumps on day two, NSW were 0-51 in their second dig just 48 runs ahead after Test hopeful Burns helped Queensland defy Starc.

The Bulls on Wednesday declared their first innings at 6-330, three runs ahead of NSW, with an hour's play left after Burns starred with 129.

He shared a 166-run second wicket stand with fellow Test chance Usman Khawaja (79).

Only Test quick Josh Hazlewood (4-70) threatened with the pink ball despite Starc's return from a leg wound requiring 30 stitches that kept him out of the recent one-day tournament.

Starc finished with 1-62 off 19 overs.

Still, Burns reckoned he liked what he saw from Starc.

"I thought he bowled really well. He bowled fast and swung it," Burns said.

"He is always a challenge, always at you.

"I guess that's what made it (129) so enjoyable - being up against Starc and Hazlewood, two quality bowlers bowling really well."

It remains to be seen how much longer Starc is involved in the Shield clash.

He was expected to only play half the Shield game before being replaced by Doug Bollinger and rested ahead of the first Test against South Africa.

He fielded at slip for NSW after being forbidden to slide or dive in the field as a precaution.

"We are not sure (if Starc is leaving). But it's a first class game, I see no reason why he wouldn't play both innings," Burns said of Starc.

Burns and Khawaja were dropped on July's ill-fated Sri Lankan tour but at least one of them looks set to return in the baggy green next week.

Khawaja appears most likely to earn a nod when the Australian squad for next week's first Test against South Africa in Perth is named on Friday.

Burns looks to be behind the in-form Shaun Marsh in the pecking order to open the batting with David Warner against the Proteas.

Burns and Khawaja came together with Queensland reeling at 1-0 on Tuesday night before resuming at 1-39 on Wednesday.

Khawaja was dropped on 32 at first slip by Australian skipper Steve Smith off Test spinner Nathan Lyon (0-75).

Centuries by Australian skipper Smith (117) and Kurtis Patterson (111) in a 228-run stand on Tuesday set up a big potential NSW total before a late collapse sparked by Luke Feldman (5-68) reduced them to 7-(dec)327.

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