Marsh and Bailey conquer quality attack
Tasmania 482 (Marsh 134, Bailey 112, Doolan 83, Cowan 70) lead New South Wales 8 for 420 dec by 62 runs
New South Wales may boast six members of the Test squad to face the West Indies next week, but they could not prevent Tasmania from claiming first-innings honours on a flat SCG wicket. Centuries to George Bailey (112) and Daniel Marsh (134) ensured Tasmania two points against an attack featuring Doug Bollinger, Australia's latest fast-bowling recruit, and Stuart Clark, the man he replaced.
A late flurry of wickets from the Blues' rookie spin bowling duo of Steven Smith (3 for 135) and Steven O'Keefe (3 for 101) terminated Tasmania's first innings at 482, and with it hopes of an outright result. With one day to play and a placid pitch to negotiate, only the most sporting of declarations or spectacular collapses could force a result.
Tasmania resumed on the third morning 238 runs in arrears of New South Wales' first-innings total, but Bailey soon closed the gap. His century included three powerful sixes, two of which were struck off Smith, and went a long way to erasing the deficit. Bailey was eventually dismissed by Clark, whose persistence was rewarded with innings-best figures of 3 for 67, however Marsh's powerful innings ensured there would be no Tasmanian collapse.
Bollinger claimed the wicket of Travis Birt, and was unlucky not to have made a bigger impression on the wickets column. His spell after lunch was both brisk and venomous, and would no doubt have pleased Andrew Hilditch, who less than an hour earlier had announced his inclusion in the Test squad.
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo