Victoria v Tasmania, Pura Cup, Melbourne, 2nd Day February 17, 2004

Warne gets cracking after Victoria make 494

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Tasmania 4 for 99 (Warne 2-31) trail Victoria 494 (Elliott 166, Hodge 121, Doherty 6-149) by 395 runs

Shane Warne boosted his prospects of a Test place for next month's series in Sri Lanka, by bringing out "all the tricks" on the second day of Victoria's Pura Cup clash with Tasmania at the MCG. Warne picked up 2 for 31 in a 13-over spell, as Tasmania slumped to 4 for 99 in reply to Victoria's first innings total of 494.

His captain and state wicketkeeper, Darren Berry, was certainly impressed - if a little surprised that the Australian selectors have not sent anyone along to the match to keep tabs on Warne's progress. "The ticket might be booked even though they [selectors] weren't here," said Berry. "All the tricks of the trade were out and it all looks well - two crucial wickets for us tonight. He's coming out of his skin to have another bowl tomorrow, it's going to be hard to take the ball off him."

Warne had Shane Watson caught at mid-off for 23 and then dismissed Michael Di Venuto for 33 with a ball which bounced and took the glove on the way to Matthew Mott at bat-pad. "He just outclassed Di Venuto tonight - he pushed a couple across him, then he spun a couple of sharp ones and the one that got him out was a beauty," added Berry. "He's bowling a lot better now than what he was when he came back last time from his shoulder injury."

Victoria had earlier resumed on 1 for 312 today, but suffered a relative collapse after Matthew Elliott and Brad Hodge had fallen in successive overs in the first hour. Elliott top-scored with 166 and Hodge made 121, but Victoria's last nine wickets fell for 176. Berry, though, was more miffed about the absentees in the stands than the lack of application on the pitch. "Were any of the selectors here? Did they watch Brad Hodge and Matthew Elliott bat?," he said. "I'm not sure they watch too many Victorian games."

Elliott was unfortunate to be run out after a mix-up with Jon Moss, who himself made 35 before being caught by Scott Mason at short mid-off off Andrew Downton. Mason initially fumbled the ball, and was only sent on his way after the umpires had conferred. The pick of Tasmania's bowlers was the left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty, who finished with his best first-class figures of 6 for 149.