Tigers claw their way back in tight encounter
Tasmania stormed into contention for the Sheffield Shield final by taking advantage of a sloppy South Australia, who finished the second day 48 runs short of first-innings points at 8 for 253. The Redbacks, who benefitted from Mark Cleary's seven wickets, were sailing towards their initial target until Tim Macdonald struck some crucial middle-order blows.
Needing a win to keep the pressure on Queensland, who are battling in Melbourne, Tasmania squeezed to 301 in the opening session, but looked to be headed for a significant deficit when the hosts reached 3 for 194. However, Callum Ferguson was caught behind off Macdonald for 54 and Mark Cosgrove (24) left the same way during an eventful over that went for nine.
Aaron O'Brien and Daniel Christian both fell to Luke Butterworth and South Australia were quickly the ones under pressure as they chase third spot. Graham Manou, who is in excellent form, was unbeaten on 32, but lost Cullen Bailey (13) to Butterworth in the second-last over.
Chris Duval had struck before lunch when Daniel Harris edged to Jason Krejza on 22 and after the break James Smith moved to a half-century. However, he fell at the milestone when hitting Krejza to mid-on while Michael Klinger lapsed on 43, finding point off Macdonald. Macdonald picked up 3 for 51 while Butterworth had 3 for 43.
Cleary took his best figures in the competition with 7 for 91 after knocking over Duval, who did not add to his overnight 61, and Macdonald. Jeremy Smith was unbeaten on 41 to continue Tasmania's strong fightback from 7 for 82 on the first day.