Tasmania v New South Wales, Pura Cup, Hobart, 2nd day March 3, 2006

Brutal Birt century keeps Tasmania on top

Cricinfo staff

New South Wales 141 and 3 for 116 (Phelps 35, Thornely 35*) trail Tasmania 353 (Birt 160, Bevan 51, Lambert 4-80) by 96 runs
Points table

Travis Birt's hard-hitting 160 ensured Tasmania remained in control at Bellerive Oval as New South Wales finished the second day needing another 96 to make the hosts bat again. The third-placed Blues are desperate to stay in touch in the finals race, but they will need a strong push from the middle and lower orders if they are to have a chance of gaining outright points.

Tasmania stretched their overnight 4 for 110 into an impressive 353 through Birt's muscular display, earning a healthy lead of 212 and two first-innings points. Birt thumped seven sixes and 19 fours in his 172-ball innings, which was his second hundred of the season and pushed his Pura Cup tally to 773 runs.

The morning started badly for the Tigers, who are currently last, with the loss of George Bailey for 9, but Birt dominated valuable stands of 48 with Dan Marsh (14), 96 with Brendan Drew (23) and 27 with Ben Hilfenhaus (0 not out) before becoming Stuart MacGill's second wicket. Grant Lambert was the most successful with 4 for 80 after adding Marsh and Brett Geeves today.

New South Wales' second innings was much healthier than their initial effort, but they were still waiting for their first half-century of the match after Matthew Phelps (35) and Greg Mail (23) gave up useful starts to Ben Hilfenhaus. Dominic Thornely remained unbeaten on 35 and Aaron O'Brien was 12 as the Blues reached 3 for 116.