Bailey survives after Silk hundred
Tasmania 2 for 291 (Silk 107, Cosgrove 74, Cowan 68*) v Queensland
Test aspirant George Bailey survived an unnerving spell from his potential Australia team-mate Ryan Harris late on the first day at Allan Border Field, where Tasmania dominated thanks to a century from young opener Jordan Silk. The Tigers went to stumps on 2 for 291 with Ed Cowan on 68 and Bailey on 34 from 46 deliveries, having held off a fiery Harris.
Although Shane Watson's fitness could force a rethink from the national selectors, Bailey has been considered a strong contender for the No.6 position in the opening Ashes Test after his impressive form leading Australia on the recent ODI tour of India. He could yet go on to a big score in this match, but was faced with some serious challenges early, including a painful blow on the left arm from the bowling of Harris.
Harris peppered Bailey with bouncers, so much so that he was even warned by the umpires, and Bailey survived a confident lbw shout and a top-edged hook over the cordon. Bailey's likely rival for a place in the first Test, his Tasmania team-mate Alex Doolan, may not have the chance to bat for Australia A until Friday, given England's wicketless start in Hobart, and Bailey will be keen to stake a claim before Doolan gets his chance.
Bailey had started the day by winning the toss and choosing to bat, and Tasmania began well with a 123-run opening stand between Silk and Mark Cosgrove. Cosgrove was the first man to fall, caught off the bowling of Cameron Gannon for 74, but Silk and Cowan then combined for a 116-run stand that kept the Tigers firmly in control.
The national selectors' main focus in this match was Bailey, but they will be increasingly pleased with the runs Silk has accumulated during his short first-class career. Silk, 21, made his debut in March this year and a pair of patient, composed centuries late in the Shield season earned him a call-up for the Australia A tour of the British Isles in June.
His second Shield summer did not begin auspiciously, with a pair against New South Wales last week, but he again showed his serenity at the crease with 107 from 250 deliveries against the Bulls. It was not a chanceless innings - Silk was put down on 9 off the bowling of Harris -but given the dearth of hundreds scored by Shield batsmen over the past couple of seasons, Silk's three in the first five Shield matches of his career stand out significantly.