Tasmania v New South Wales, Pura Cup, Hobart, 1st day March 8, 2007

Di Venuto blasts 181 as Blues struggle

Cricinfo staff

Tasmania 8 for 364 (Di Venuto 181, Birt 53, Cameron 4-114) v New South Wales

Michael Di Venuto anchored the Tasmania innings © Getty Images

A huge century from Michael Di Venuto pushed Tasmania closer to a home final as they reached 8 for 364 at stumps against New South Wales. Mark Cameron removed Di Venuto for 181 with the last ball of the day but the Blues faced an uphill battle to secure their place in the Pura Cup decider.

Cameron chipped away at Di Venuto's partners, finishing with 4 for 114, but Tasmania dominated the day and only a New South Wales win will rob them of hosting rights. The 270-ball innings was Di Venuto's third hundred in 2006-07 - only Chris Rogers, David Hussey and Phil Jaques have also managed that feat this year.

He raced to 74 from 79 deliveries at lunch before easing his pace and he reached triple-figures from 136 balls. Di Venuto had good support from Travis Birt (53) and later from Damien Wright, who contributed an unbeaten 36 in the pair's 86-run eighth-wicket stand.

Stuart MacGill troubled the middle order with 3 for 56 and will be keen to finish off the tail early on day two. The Blues could still make the final even if they lose, but they would be out should either Victoria or Western Australia win.

New South Wales suffered a setback before play when Simon Katich was ruled out with a thumb injury. Ben Rohrer, the batsman, was handed his first-class debut while Dominic Thornely was given the captaincy in Katich's absence.