Tasmania has held on to defeat South Australia by 16 runs in a pulsating Sheffield Shield contest at Blundstone Arena.
On a day full of dramatic momentum shifts, the Tigers managed to rally when the chips were down to secure a memorable victory that keeps Tasmania’s hopes of a spot in the Sheffield Shield final well and truly alive.
The Redbacks entered the day at 1-49, trailing by 281 runs and with overcast conditions throughout the first hour, Tasmania struck, taking three wickets within the first three overs of the day to have the visitors reeling at 4-69.
WATCH: Day Four Highlights
Andrew Fekete and Sam Rainbird appeared to have the ball on a string throughout this period, constantly testing and teasing the Redbacks batsman, with the overcast conditions and swinging Dukes ball playing right into Tasmania’s favour.
Travis Head, who made his way out to the middle earlier than he would have liked, stood tall in the face of the Tigers assault, however, batting patiently alongside Tom Cooper (38) to steady the ship and put on 115 runs for the fifth wicket.
Cooper eventually fell to Jackson Bird after being caught by Simon Milenko, and when Milenko got the wicket of Alex Carey (6) just six overs later, suddenly the momentum of the clash was well and truly Tasmania’s way.
Travis Head continued to bat resiliently and proved to be a thorn in the Tigers side, bringing up his second century this season and a 55-run stand with Joe Mennie that threatened to once again break the Tigers.
Jackson Bird eventually got the big wicket of Mennie for 29, and followed it up with the scalp of Kane Richardson just three balls later as the Tigers again wrestled back control on the eve of tea.
The contest proved to have one or two more twists in it from there, however, with tailender Nick Winter and Head adding a further 57 runs for the 10th wicket, getting the Redbacks within striking distance of a remarkable victory.
But Tasmania, as they so often did throughout this match, dug deep with the new ball, with Sam Rainbird finding the edge of Travis Head’s bat with Beau Webster, who is now three catches away from the record for catches in a Sheffield Shield season, taking the catch that saw Head depart for a brilliant 167-ball 145.
Winter and Daniel Worrall were still within striking distance of getting the Redbacks over the line but when Jackson Bird got through the defences of the former three overs after Head’s dismissal, the Redbacks hopes of reaching the final were dashed, and Tasmania began to celebrate a thrilling 16-run win that keeps the Tigers’ 2017-18 alive.
WATCH: Bird is the word
Tasmania’s next assignment will be the Victorian Bushrangers at Blundstone Arena starting Wednesday 14 March, with a win in this contest going a long way to securing a spot in the Sheffield Shield final.