Clingeleffer puts Tasmania out of sight
Close South Australia 112 and 4 for 110 require another 320 runs to beat Tasmania 207 and 334 (Clingeleffer 74, Watson 61)
Sean Clingeleffer: scored a valuable 74
© Getty Images
The fighting qualities of Sean Clingeleffer, Tasmania's wicketkeeper, who today top-scored for his side for the second time in two innings, set Tasmania up for a likely win over South Australia at the Adelaide Oval. At stumps on day three, SA were in serious trouble at 4 for 110 in their second innings, chasing a near-impossible target of 430 on a wearing pitch.
Darren Lehmann, unbeaten on 10, held SA's last realistic hope of victory, with Mick Miller with him at the crease on 5 not out. Gerard Denton and Damien Wright snared two wickets each in the final session, including the prize scalp of Greg Blewett, yorked by Denton for one, to move within sight of a win that would put Tasmania in second place of the table.
Wright picked up the important wicket of Mark Cosgrove, who made a counterpunching innings of 54 from 68 balls, with nine boundaries, late in the day.
The task facing SA would have been far less daunting had it not been for Clingeleffer's gritty three-hour 72, patiently compiled with the support of tailenders Andrew Downton, Xavier Doherty and Denton.
The trio combined with Clingeleffer to take Tasmania from 7 for 231 in their second innings to 334 all out, which, combined with Tasmania's 95-run first-innings lead, pushed the SA's target from unlikely to almost unreachable.
"It was good to chip in and get everyone in the tail involved and try to post a pretty big score, which we did," Clingeleffer said. "So hopefully we can get in there tomorrow, take some early wickets and get the job done."
After also forming the backbone of a lower-order Tasmanian fightback in the first innings, when he top-scored with 42, Clingeleffer said patience had been the vital factor in a surprisingly low-scoring match.
"Patience is the key and try to play straight, I guess," he said. "The wicket was getting a bit lower as the day went on and probably will tomorrow, so they were probably the main things."
Clingeleffer was also assisted by some fielding errors. Graham Manou, the keeper, fumbled a chance to stump him from John Davison's offspin when he was on 6, and David Fitzgerald dropped him at slip off Shaun Tait's bowling when he was on 33.
Tasmania also missed a chance in the field late in the day, which would have snuffed out SA's victory chances. Jamie Cox put down an extremely sharp chance off Lehmann at short-leg just before stumps, from Wright's bowling.