Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Di Venuto and Birt give Tasmania some substance

Tasmania 295 (Di Venuto 96, Birt 89, Denton 4-51) v Victoria

Travis Birt and Michael Di Venuto narrowly missed centuries, but their bright contributions gave Tasmania a solid start in their Pura Cup match against Victoria at St Kilda. The Bushrangers suffered a double blow before the match when the top-order batsmen Brad Hodge and Jason Arnberger were ruled out with flu, and the Tigers added to their problems until Gerard Denton's late strikes helped dismiss them for 295.

Michael Di Venuto lost his opening partner David Dawson when he offered no shot and was lbw to Denton's second ball of the match, but he settled his side against Victoria, who hold a two-point lead at the top of the table. Hitting 13 fours, Di Venuto found the conditions comfortable and he seemed certain to pick up a century before he edged Denton behind for 96.

The 143-run partnership with Birt set up Tasmania for a decent first-innings total and Birt took advantage of a first-ball drop from Shane Warne at first slip. Warne eventually made up for his error when he had Birt, who collected 11 boundaries, stumped by Adam Crosthwaite, but the damage was 89 runs.

Victoria fought back to take seven wickets in the final session with Warne also removing the threat of George Bailey for 49. Jon Moss, a late addition to the side, picked up Dan Marsh before Denton hit late with the new ball, knocking over Brett Geeves and Brendan Drew in consecutive balls. Denton finished with 4 for 51 while Shane Harwood had 2 for 55.