Is there a worse feeling in cricket?
Queensland paceman Mark Steketee has been cruelly denied a hat-trick in the Sheffield Shield after teammate Joe Burns put down a touch chance at second slip on Saturday afternoon.
The Tasmanian Tigers were in dire straits on day three of the first-class contest at Allan Border Field, needing at least 311 runs to avoid an innings defeat to the Bulls.
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Steketee dismissed Tasmanian batter Jordan Silk in the 35th over with a delivery that nipped away from the right-hander and caught the outside edge — Matthew Renshaw made no mistake with the catch at first slip.
The 28-year-old seamer struck again the following delivery, removing Tigers spinner Jarrod Freeman with an absolute gem that crashed into the top of off stump.
Tasmania was suddenly reeling at 7/77 with Steketee one wicket away from snaring a hat-trick — a rare achievement in red-ball cricket.
Steketee managed to draw the outside edge from Tasmanian tailender Jackson Bird, but Burns couldn’t hold onto the chance that went low to his right at second slip.
The former Test opener certainly didn’t receive any help from Queensland captain Usman Khawaja, who lunged in front of Burns from third slip as the Kookaburra flew towards him.
Steketee was the highest wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last summer, claiming 32 scalps at 17.93 in six matches.
He has been a regular member of the Australia A squad over the past 18 months, but has yet to receive a coveted Baggy Green.
Earlier in the match, Queensland batter Marnus Labuschagne and wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson scored centuries to steer the hosts towards an imposing first-innings total of 458 in Brisbane.
Tasmanian quick Riley Meredith claimed career-best figures of 5/96 from 30.4 overs, but it was a lone highlight in an otherwise forgettable match for the Tigers, who suffered an innings and 172-run defeat.
Queensland seamer Gurinder Sandhu took a five-wicket haul in the second innings, the fourth of his first-class career, to help roll the visitors for 139.
Former Australian Test captain Tim Paine, playing his first Sheffield Shield match since April 2021, finished unbeaten on 29.