Jhye Richardson has issued an immediate notice to Australia's selectors with an incisive four-wicket haul on his red-ball return, before Usman Khawaja cruised to his 41st first-class century.
The fit-again West Australian quick, in his first Sheffield Shield outing since November 2022, looked at his zippy best on his way to 4-36 from 23 overs against Queensland at the Gabba on Wednesday.
Bulls captain Khawaja, batting at No.4, defied it all to post an unbeaten 102 before suddenly declaring the innings closed at 8-274 as the light faded.
His side were only able to squeeze in two overs before bad light stopped play, the visitors 0-2 as Test aspirant Cameron Bancroft survived a big lbw shout off Jack Wildermuth on the penultimate ball.
"It was nice to be out there, nice and warm, and (my) body's going to be sore tomorrow," Richardson said of his long-awaited return to Shield action that was slowed after dislocating his right shoulder in a second XI match in October.
"The shoulder's no issue ... throwing is going to be a work in progress as it has been for the last two years, but bowling-wise, all good.
"Rusty early, but managed to get into it and felt good by the end."
Richardson boasts a first-class average of 21 and a strike rate of 48, injuries restricting him to just three Tests in which he's looked at home.
Endorsed for a Test return by former captain Tim Paine earlier this week to support Australia's battle-weary pace battery, Richardson quickly reminded onlookers he remains a force.
Matt Renshaw (37) didn't add to his overnight score in a missed opportunity for the Test contender, while Richardson found the edge of Joe Burns' (21) bat.
Test No.3 Marnus Labuschagne (0) then paddled a catch off the middle of his bat to square leg and the Bulls had lost 3-2.
Khawaja found a partner in Jack Clayton (53), the pair adding 116 before a probing Richardson again found an edge.
He was on a hat-trick when Jimmy Peirson was caught behind on the next ball, with Michael Neser becoming his fourth victim when caught at second slip by Bancroft.
Khawaja moved steadily towards triple figures before an audacious flick off a good length Richardson ball whistled towards midwicket to bring up his second Shield hundred of the season.
With Queensland sitting last on the Shield ladder after a string of close losses, Khawaja's aggressive declaration after a rain-hit first day boosts the prospect of a result with two days still to play.
"Knowing Queensland want to make a game of it, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out," Richardson said.
Australian Associated Press