Birt and Cowan finish off overpowered Redbacks
Tasmania 3 for 250 (Dighton 69, Birt 68*, Cowan 54*) beat South Australia 9 for 249 (Harris 68, O'Brien 54, Doherty 3-46) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Travis Birt and Ed Cowan built on the early damage caused by Michael Dighton as Tasmania breezed to a seven-wicket victory over South Australia. The trio collected half-centuries as the Tigers reached 3 for 250 with 47 balls remaining to reverse the result of last week's Sheffield Shield fixture.
Dighton blasted 69 in the first 18 overs to get Tasmania off to a slick start and Tim Paine provided the support as the hosts were stunned. However, both the openers went within three overs, with Dighton getting too adventurous to Aaron O'Brien and Paine going with 41 after pushing at Dan Christian's first delivery and nicking behind. When Shaun Tait, on his domestic return, watched George Bailey hit him to mid-on the visitors were winded at 3 for 124.
They were soon breathing clearly again with Birt and Cowan combining for 126 runs to secure a comfortable success. Birt launched O'Brien for a slog-swept six just before reaching his half-century and finished his run-a-ball innings in aggressive fashion to walk off with 68. At the other end Cowan, who moved from New South Wales in the off-season, was satisfied with his 54.
Tait went for 1 for 61 in 10 overs, with his speed usually in the 130kph range, but he was still finding rhythm after a long lay-off. He will play only one-day games until the New Year before deciding whether to extend himself in any first-class contests.
In the afternoon the opener Daniel Harris and O'Brien held South Australia together as the hosts fought back from a wobbly start to reach 9 for 249. After making the surprise decision to drop Michael Klinger, who was their leading batsman last season, the Redbacks lost regular wickets and were in trouble at 5 for 114 in the 27th over.
However, Harris stood up along with O'Brien in a 68-run partnership before Harris had his off stump clipped by Xavier Doherty when trying to sweep. Harris' 68 came from 98 balls - there were only four boundaries, reflecting the seriousness of his side's early situation - while O'Brien registered 54 off 65 before miscuing Ben Hilfehnaus to mid-off. O'Brien also joined in a valuable stand of 37 with Christian, who continued the late push by racing to 35 from 26.
James Smith, who replaced Klinger after scoring 116 in their opening Sheffield Shield win, fell first for 6 before Mark Cosgrove drove lazily at a slower ball on 23. Graham Manou, a surprise entrant at No. 4, quickly edged behind on 2 to become the first of Doherty's three wickets. Doherty finished with 3 for 46 off 10 while Brendan Drew and Luke Butterworth, who broke through on the final two deliveries, finished with a couple of victims each.