Tasmania 255 (Bailey 64, Boyce 56*, Christian 4-35) and 3 for 19 need another 346 runs to beat Victoria 415 and 9 for 204 dec (Harris 77, Webster 3-25, Bird 3-59)
Jackson Bird finished his Test audition with six wickets for the match, but Victoria were in a strong position to push for victory at stumps on the third day at the MCG. Chasing 365, Tasmania wobbled to 3 for 19 at the close of play, with Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain and Scott Boland each having picked up a wicket. Caleb Jewell was on 10 and nightwatchman Andrew Fekete was yet to score.
Siddle had been on light duties earlier in the day when Tasmania resumed their first innings in the morning, bowling only three overs as his workload was managed in his return to first-class cricket after eight months out injured. However, he trapped Beau Webster lbw late in the day and has a good chance of being named in Australia's Test squad alongside Bird on Friday.
The day began with Tasmania on 4 for 93, and through George Bailey (64) and some late hitting from Cameron Boyce, who struck an unbeaten 56 off 53 balls, the Tigers moved along to 255 before they were dismissed. Daniel Christian picked up 4 for 35.
Victoria chose not to enforce the follow on, instead increasing their lead briskly as opener Marcus Harris added 77 from 88 deliveries to his first-innings century. Bird picked up 3 for 59 from his 13 overs and ended with match figures of 6 for 134, while part-timer Webster also claimed three wickets as the Victorians sought quick runs.
They declared at 9 for 204, which meant Tasmania had to negotiate a difficult period before stumps, and their top order found the going hard. Ben Dunk was caught off Boland for 6, Siddle claimed Webster, and Boland picked up the wicket of Alex Doolan for 2.