The first day of the Sheffield Shield final between Queensland and Tasmania was abandoned without a ball being bowled despite mostly clear conditions in Brisbane. Overnight rain and a wet outfield were the major obstacles during an extremely frustrating opening for players and the small crowd at Allan Border Field.
The ground staff worked in often sunny weather throughout the day and while there was no problem with the pitch, the umpires felt there were safety concerns over patches of the outfield. Their call to abandon came at 3pm local time. The match will start an hour earlier for the remaining four days.
Allan Border Field is a boutique ground with drainage more like a well-manicured backyard than the sieve-like surface across town at the Gabba. With the Test stadium being prepared for the Australian Football League season, Queensland are hosting the match at their inner-city training base.
The forecast for the rest of the game is occasional showers, continuing the wet end to Brisbane’s rainy season. A combination of the bowler-friendly conditions and the Dukes ball, which has swung considerably since being employed over the second half of the season, should make things uncomfortable for the batsmen and ensure a result remains possible even with further interruptions.
Queensland are chasing their eighth Shield win and as hosts need only to draw the match to gain the trophy.
Peter English is a journalism lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.