Tasmania v South Australia, Pura Cup, Hobart, 3rd day October 31, 2007

Ponting sets up Tasmania's final-day chase

Cricinfo staff

South Australia 482 and 4 for 171 (Cosgrove 66*, Lehmann 47) lead Tasmania 6 for 363 (Di Venuto 138, Ponting 96) by 290 runs
Scorecard



Michael Di Venuto has continued his outstanding run of form © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting enjoyed his return to the Pura Cup with 96 before conceding first-innings points in an effort to set up a final-day chase for Tasmania. Michael Di Venuto made 138 - his second century in two games - in Tasmania's 6 for 363 and at the close South Australia had extended their lead to 290.

The Redbacks were on 4 for 171 at stumps with Mark Cosgrove on 66 and the debutant Andy Delmont on 26 after Darren Lehmann chipped in with a quick 47 from 39 balls. South Australia's top three struggled again, with Matthew Elliott, Shane Deitz and Nathan Adcock all falling in the first ten overs.

The visitors began their second innings with a 119-run lead thanks to Ponting's declaration, which gave both sides hope of victory after the Tigers opened their season with a draw and South Australia with a loss. Ponting looked set for a century when he feathered behind while trying to fend off a bouncer from Shaun Tait, who is hoping for a spot in Ponting's Test team.

That was Tait's only success of the innings, however, as he conceded 11 no-balls in collecting 1 for 117. Di Venuto began the day on 99 and had no problems posting his 44th first-class hundred before becoming the first of Dan Cullen's two victims.

Di Venuto's form in the past 12 months has been remarkable - he had his best Pura Cup year last summer with 961 runs at 53.38 and opened this season with 178 against Queensland to salvage a draw at the Gabba. In between, he was fourth on the county run-tally in 2007 with 1329 at 66.45 for Durham.