Tasmania v SA, Sheffield Shield, Hobart, 1st day March 11, 2014

Bird takes six as South Australia struggle

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tasmania 2 for 145 (Cosgrove 83*, Dunk 54*) trail South Australia 212 (McDonald 83, Bird 6-50) by 67 runs

Jackson Bird's six-wicket haul and an unbeaten 83 from Mark Cosgrove gave Tasmania the edge on the first day of their Sheffield Shield match against South Australia in Hobart. Tasmania cannot make the final but South Australia are fighting for a place in the decider and at stumps they looked likely to concede first-innings points, with the Tigers at 2 for 145, trailing by 67 runs.

Cosgrove and Ben Dunk (54 not out) had put on an unbeaten 129 for the third wicket after Ed Cowan and Alex Doolan both fell cheaply to leave Tasmania at 2 for 16. But the South Australia bowlers were unable to have the same impact that Bird managed; he picked up four wickets with the new ball to leave the Redbacks wobbling at 5 for 39 after their stand-in captain Callum Ferguson chose to bat.

Andrew McDonald led the South Australian recovery with help from Tim Ludeman (15), Kane Richardson (16) and Trent Lawford, and while they pushed the Redbacks up to a more respectable 212 it remained Tasmania's day. McDonald missed the chance for a century when he fell to Xavier Doherty for 83 and Lawford finished unbeaten on 46 from 44 deliveries.

Bird returned to run through the tail and finished with 6 for 50, showing that time on the sidelines with the Test squad in South Africa has not affected his form. South Australia will need a strong performance over the next few days to give themselves their best chance of a place in the Shield final, with New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland all vying for two spots.