It was an unsettled start to Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria, with captain, Tim Paine, waking up ill, forcing him to withdraw from the clash due to COVID protocols. This saw Jackson Bird take on the captaincy, Jake Doran take the gloves, and Alex Doolan jumping on a plane for a mercy dash from Hobart to Melbourne; with the Tigers only travelling with a squad of 12 for the Shield leg of their trip to Victoria.
Luck continued to fall the opposite way of the Tigers, when the Victorians won the toss and sent the tourists into bat. When opener, Jordan Silk, was dismissed for a single run in the sixth over of the day, followed by Mac Wright for three just two overs later, this left Tasmanian camp crossing their fingers that Doolan’s flight would arrive on time.
Charlie Wakim and Caleb Jewell took control of the situation, putting together a 51-run partnership, which almost saw them through to lunch, until Wakim was trapped LBW by his Hurricanes teammate in Scott Boland.
When Jewell fell for 37 just after the main break, Doolan strode to the crease, having, thankfully, had ample time to warm up in the nets, and hoping add to the 43 and 61 he made during the week when captaining a the Tasmanian 2nd XI which took on a New South Wales 2nd XI in Hobart. The fairytale wasn’t to be however, with Doolan being dismissed for 12 by Mitchell Perry.
Jake Doran stood up to be the top-scorer with the bat for the Tigers, making a well-made 52 runs off 99 deliveries, in an innings that included six boundaries. His dismissal – run out, thanks to a freakish piece of fielding by Nic Maddinson - signalled the near end of the Tigers first innings in the middle, with the tourists being bowled out for 188 during the final session of the day.
With a little over an hour for the Victorians to navigate in the middle, dangerman Maddison was dismissed early, trapped LBW by Bird in the third over of the innings. Marcus Harris (15) and Matt Short (0) followed suit, leaving the Vics sitting at 3-70 at stumps, with Peter Handscomb (52*) and Scott Boland (0*) at the crease.
The Tigers are arguably on top at the halfway point of a low-scoring but intriguing tussle with Victoria at the MCG.
It was a slow start to the day from a run-scoring perspective, until Nathan Ellis got the breakthrough, with the wicket of the dangerous Peter Handscomb, who was caught behind by Jake Doran for 73. Stands of 37 and 34* respectively from young guns Jake Fraser-McGurk and Will Sutherland gave a little life to the Vics innings, but the MCG pitch continued to be kinder to the bowlers than the batters, with Victoria being dismissed for 199 just before tea.
Jarrod Freeman had almost immediate impact in his debut appearance at the ‘G, finishing with figures of 3-39 off his 17 overs. Meanwhile stand-in captain, Jackson Bird, finished with figures of 4-43 off 22.5 overs, notching up his 400th wicket at the first class level in the process.
With Victoria being dismissed just before tea, it was a tricky, extended final session of play the Tigers’ batters had to navigate to get through to stumps. Jordan Silk (6) and Charlie Wakim (23) unfortunately lost their wickets, but a patient display of 30* off 110 deliveries by Mac Wright – aided by Caleb Jewell at the other end – saw the pair carry their bats at the end of the day’s play.
At stumps, Tasmania are 2-64, commanding a lead of 53 runs with eight wickets in hand.
An incredibly patient second innings with the bat from the Tigers has put them in a good position for an outright victory over Victoria with one day of play remaining at the MCG.
Mac Wright and Caleb Jewell resumed Day 3 of play at the crease for the Tasmanians, having sat on 30* and 3* respectively overnight. Wright in particular worked incredibly hard for his runs, and by the time he was dismissed for 33, had faced 129 balls for his efforts – the most of any player in the match at that stage.
Jake Doran was next to the crease, and although runs continued to be hard to come by for all batsmen, he left the Victorian bowlers incredible frustrated. Emulating his half century-making form from the first innings, Doran led the Tasmanian batters in a lesson of patience. The Tigers lost three wickets and added 52 runs to their total score for the first session to lunch, and then lost just one wicket for 77 runs between lunch a tea.
Aided in particular by Beau Webster (22 off 56), Jarrod Freeman (30 off 82) and Nathan Ellis (9 off 69), Doran came heartbreakingly close to his second century of the 2020/21 Sheffield Shield season, before he was dismissed on 98 by a hot-under-the-collar James Pattinson. Doran faced 237 deliveries for his efforts.
Doran’s departure sure the Tasmanian innings quickly draw to a close, with the Tigers all out for 263. The Victorian openers had to endure four overs in the middle before stumps was called, which they survived unscathed, finished on 0-8.
Victoria now have one day to make 245 runs to secure a home victory, whilst the Tigers need to take 10 wickets.
The Melbourne weather has rained on the party of what was promising to be a tense final day of play at the MCG.
Despite the home side losing Nic Maddinson in just the sixth over of the day for 20 – bowled by Peter Siddle, caught behind by stand-in wicketkeeper, Jake Doran – from that point on the runs were considerably freer-flowing than the wickets.
Victorian captain, Pete Handscomb – perhaps with one eye on the radar – raced away with the bat, eventually finished unbeaten on 54 runs off 68 balls, eclipsing opener, Marcus Harris’ 45*, which came off 131 deliveries.
Midway through the first session play was stopped due to rain with the score at 1-93, and the good news was that both sides did get back on, enough for Victoria to extend their score to 1-122 in pursuit of 253. However, the weather gods had other ideas, with the final session of the day completely washed out, and the match was declared a draw.
Doran was named Player of the Match for his knocks of 52 and 98 respectively with the bat. However, his form behind the stumps should also be noted, as Doran took four catches for the match – not bad for someone who travelled to Melbourne not expecting to pull on the gloves.
FULL SCORECARD: cricket.com.au