Hodge gives reply to selectors with Shield ton

Published: Friday, March 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Brisbane:Unwanted Test batsman Brad Hodge sent a defiant message to the Australian selectors with a superb century for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield cricket final against Queensland at the Gabba.

Hodge, who was a glaring omission from the Australian squad for the current Test series in South Africa, plundered a strong Queensland bowling attack for 108 in Victoria's 269 for five on the opening day of the five-day scheduled final.

Coming to the wicket here on Friday at 46 for two, Hodge, whose Test average stands at 58, joined in a 192-run third wicket partnership with Nick Jewell (89) to put Victoria in a handy position at the close.

"I guess that every time I play I have to make runs so that's going to be my job from here on in," Hodge said.

"I still feel a part of that (Test) group and my aim is to be back in that group. Today's a pretty good step in trying to achieve that goal."

Hodge was bowled by former Test paceman Andy Bichel with the first delivery of the second new ball.

Queensland grabbed some late wickets with Jewell, Hodge and skipper Cameron White (4) dismissed in quick succession. Bichel finished with 2-56 from 20 overs.

Queensland is hosting its seventh Shield final in eight seasons and only need a draw to claim this year's domestic cricket title.

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