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Monday, February 11, 2008

Domestic interlude

South Australia 344 and 9/318 dec drew with Tasmania 383 and 8/232: Pura Cup at Adelaide. Tasmania 2 pts, SA nil.

This afternoon I went to the Adelaide Oval to watch Tasmania, who had led on the first innings, chase 280 from 52 overs to secure outright points.

The Tigers lost two early wickets before George Bailey and Michael Di Venuto steadied the ship and prepared the ground for a possible late overs charge. They slowly accelerated the pace, aided by some indifferent SA bowling and fielding. Jason Gillespie reduced his pace and had the keeper up at the stumps for several overs - see photo on left -and had Bailey lbw.

Soon afterwards Dan Cullen had Di Venuto, who had batted well despite being missed off a sitter at midwicket when he was 50, caught at long off. Next ball Gillespie, now off his long run, had Luke Butterworth caught behind.

At 5/153 from 32.1 overs it looked as if the Tasmanians would concentrate on saving the game but Dan Marsh and Tim Paine, who had done so well together in the first innings, added 64 in 65 balls as the Redbacks attack wilted. As so often happens in such situations a run out turned the game around, when Callum Ferguson's throw cut off Marsh for 41/43b. 6/217 became 7/220 when Paine hit a Ryan Harris full toss to his namesake Daniel, who took a good catch.

At this point Tasmania needed 60 from 58 balls with the tail exposed, ie SA had the upper hand. Yet strangely they didn't press the point hard enough. Cullen took a further wicket but both he and Ryan Harris weren't able to break through again, partly because of the batsmen's defensiveness, partly because of their own waywardness (each bowled a wide in the last 4 overs) and partly because of some timid captaincy from Graham Manou, who didn't crowd the bat until the last couple of overs. Team selection could also have had a bearing on the tactics: Cullen Bailey's legspin might have helped to prise out the tailenders.

The draw has snuffed out whatever chance the Redbacks may have had of reaching the Pura Cup final. Apparently it is still possible for the Tigers to do so. I didn't watch enough of the game to assess their chances, but on today's evidence they are a competitive side, albeit one with a couple of modest performers with the bat. I'll reserve my judgment about the Redbacks, who are on course to complete yet another disappointing first class season, despite some outstanding individual performances, eg Ryan Harris' 9/171 and two thirties with the bat in this game, and a couple of good team ones.


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