Pura Cup: New South Wales v Tasmania at Sydney, 17-20 Oct 2001|
Tasmania 1st innings:
New South Wales 1st innings:
BEVAN'S RESCUE ACT INTERRUPTS TASMANIAThis was a day of Pura Cup cricket that started with window cleaners interrupting play. It was one that included a dirty moment for Michael Slater. And it was one that ended with a clean-stroking Michael Bevan interrupting his opponents' dominance.
By the scheduled halfway point of the match against Tasmania here at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a defiant Bevan (80*) had led New South Wales to a score of 2/168 as it began its response to a mammoth 504.
But it was another tough visit to the office for the locals, and most notably Slater and fellow internationals Glenn McGrath and Stuart MacGill.
Slater (19) seemed intent on making up for time lost since his omission from Australia's side for the fifth Ashes Test, smiting and swiping mightily in mid-afternoon as the Blues sought to cash in on a surface that had already yielded three centuries and a tailender's maiden first-class half century.
He unleashed a glorious pull at Damien Wright (1/31) to produce the first six of the match and then thrashed a short wide ball from David Saker (1/42) magnificently to the cover boundary to signal that something special might well be afoot.
Yet his innings came to an equally rapid end when he fenced at a leg cutter from Wright and watched in horror as Ricky Ponting took a fine low catch to his right at second slip.
By this stage, Justin Langer - the man who replaced him in England - had already struck 96 for Western Australia in its match against Queensland in Brisbane. Another potential rival, Jamie Cox, had also already made far more runs here yesterday. Any hopes of an imminent recall for Slater are duly beginning to look slim.
This on another sunny day and one that again had the combination of fine strokeplay and a generally docile pitch bringing most members of the two sides' attacks to their knees.
Ponting (126), Wright (50) and Sean Clingeleffer (40) dominated the early going for the Tigers, continuing to frustrate a Blues attack that might have been envisaging a swift end to its torment when it removed stubborn left hander Shaun Young (3) only minutes after the resumption.
Much like the window cleaners attending to a series of panes above the line of the sightscreen at the Randwick End, so that trio remained largely unswayed by urgent attempts to shift them.
Ponting was a tower of strength throughout the morning session, driving exquisitely and also playing a succession of glorious horizontal bat shots off the back foot. He survived one imploring lbw appeal from Don Nash (0/111) at 111, and was also perilously close to being bowled around his legs by MacGill (1/140) on 119, but was otherwise in near-complete control.
New South Wales' best chance of removing him always looked as though it might rest in a run out, and the home team duly accepted such a gift from the gods when it arrived twenty minutes before lunch. A Clingeleffer drive to mid on was followed by a moment's hesitation in the running, and a lovely flat throw from Greg Mail to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin proved enough to win the third umpire's approval.
Clingeleffer played a lovely supporting role to underline his continuing emergence, and a belligerent Wright then indulged himself at his alma mater with a whirlwind display that took Tasmania beyond a total of 500.
Matters had become so grim that McGrath (1/106) even appeared destined by this stage to produce his worst-ever first-class analysis.
Bevan ultimately hit back - literally and metaphorically - in a display that included several crashing drives on both sides of the wicket. He was peppered with short deliveries early in his innings, and third slip fieldsman Cox just failed to pluck a desperately difficult chance when the left hander, on 21, awkwardly fended another lifting ball from Shane Watson that surprised him.
But he proved as unflappable as ever, combining with dogged opener Mail (52) to forge a century stand against Tasmania for the second time in successive seasons.
Crucially for his team, he will be back - with Mark Waugh (10*) - at the crease in the morning.
It was Wright's adventurous ascent toward and beyond his previous best at this level of 45 which provided the impetus for Tasmania to pass the collective landmark of a total of 500. Before the hard-hitting paceman was trapped lbw by a Glenn McGrath (1/106) inswinger and Andrew Downton then fell in the same manner to Shane Lee (1/49), the Tigers' score had swelled to 504.
That left the Blues requiring as many as 355 to even avoid the follow-on, but Slater (19) looked intent on wiping away most of the deficit before stumps with a typically cavalier start.
He unleashed a glorious pull at Wright (1/22) to produce the first six of the match and then thrashed a short wide ball from David Saker (0/18) magnificently to the cover boundary to signal that something special might well be afoot.
But his innings came to an equally rapid end when he followed a leg cutter from Wright and watched in horror as Ricky Ponting took a fine low catch to his right at second slip.
On a pitch again offering evidence of pace and movement off the seam for the new ball bowlers, Wright and Saker maintained a good line and length thereafter. The Tasmanians also peppered new batsman Michael Bevan (20*) with short deliveries, forcing him to duck hurriedly on a number of occasions early in his innings.
Gradually, though, Bevan and Greg Mail (18*) were able to loosen the Tasmanian stranglehold with some cleverly placed strokes late in the session. Bevan was even able to hammer 14 from one over from left arm paceman Andrew Downton (0/18).
Indeed, for as long as these two remain at the wicket, the Tasmanians probably won't be feeling all that comfortable. Memories of their massive partnership of 197 in the corresponding fixture last season together with the fact that Shane Watson dropped a catch offered by Mail low to his right at third slip off Downton in the final over before tea will continue to feed their thinking for as long as the liaison lasts.
At the break, the Blues are 1/61.
By lunch on day two - following an extended morning session - the Tigers have reached a mark of 7/477. Principally, that position has owed much to the batting of Ponting (126), Sean Clingeleffer (40) and Damien Wright (39*) this morning.
Having lost three wickets in the blink of an eye just before stumps yesterday, the Tasmanians surrendered another almost immediately upon the early resumption today as Shaun Young (3) brushed at a Clark (5/58) delivery down leg side and offered wicketkeeper Brad Haddin a regulation catch moving to his right.
That left the visitors at 5/338, and needing a substantial partnership in order to ensure that the determined efforts of Jamie Cox, Dene Hills and Ponting earlier in the innings were not laid to waste. It duly arrived, as Clingeleffer - playing an excellent supporting hand and continuing to keep the scoreboard ticking all the while - joined Ponting to forge a 78-run union for the sixth wicket.
Ponting remained a tower of strength throughout the morning session, driving exquisitely and also playing a succession of glorious horizontal bat shots off the back foot. He survived one imploring lbw appeal from Don Nash (0/111) at 111, and was also perilously close to being bowled around his legs by Stuart MacGill (1/140) on 119, but was otherwise in near-complete control.
It looked for a long time that New South Wales' best chance of removing him might rest in a run out, and it ultimately proved the case. A Clingeleffer drive to mid on was followed by a moment's hesitation in the running, and a lovely flat throw from Greg Mail to Haddin was enough to win the third umpire's approval.
Clingeleffer was the next to go, mistiming a pull at a MacGill long hop and presenting Glenn McGrath with a comfortable catch moving to his left from mid on. It was a disappointing end to an excellent innings.
Wright then took Tasmania ever-closer to a total of 500, producing a whirlwind display of strokeplay. He smashed 38 runs - with eight boundaries included in that tally - from his first 31 deliveries and showed little respect to any member of the attack.
Of the bowlers, Clark remained the standout. With Young's wicket, he deservedly claimed the first five wicket haul of his career and has continued to plug away on a disciplined line and length throughout the morning.
Date-stamped : 19 Oct2001 - 06:34