A patient half-century from George Bailey averted disaster for Tasmania on day one of the Sheffield Shield cricket match against Victoria.
Bailey’s 73 was the standout individual effort at the MCG today as the Tigers won the toss and made 8-189 before bad light stopped play.
They had slumped to 5-62 after lunch and the No.4’s knock, which lasted two minutes short of four hours and featured eight boundaries, meant they will bat into day two.
He put on 62 for the sixth wicket with Luke Butterworth (25), doubling the score, and another 49 with Brett Geeves (31) before Bailey skied Andrew McDonald to mid-wicket.
Shane Harwood took a well-judged running catch to deny Bailey his century.
“To have eight of them out at the moment with a new ball around the corner is a pretty reasonable effort,” said Victorian coach Greg Shipperd.
“Bailey batted particularly well for them and stalled us.”
By contrast, Tasmanian captain Dan Marsh said his men were “pretty disappointed” — with Bailey the obvious exception.
“That was a good innings, it was disappointing he didn’t get a hundred, because he deserved it,” Marsh said.
“He fought through a really tough time, with the wickets going around him, and he will be really disappointed he didn’t go on and make a big one.
“The team needed someone to dig in there, he did a great job for the team – hopefully that score amounts to something in the end.”
McDonald was the pick of the attack with 3-29, while Gerard Denton had made five and Ben Hilfenhaus was 1no.
Play started two hours late so four Victorian players and three Tasmanians could return from Friday night’s Twenty20 charity game in Brisbane.
But that meant play ended 45 minutes early as natural light faded.
It was fortunate for Victoria that Marsh decided to bat, as captain David Hussey’s batting gear was lost in transit.
The Victorians bowled and fielded well for much of the day, although Shipperd felt they failed to press their advantage in the middle session.
The drop-in MCG wicket, maligned so often last season, appears so far to have more bounce and Marsh said the ball was swinging throughout the day.
In-form Victorian batsman Brad Hodge today broke Darren Berry’s state first-class games record, taking his total to 139.
Hodge top-scored in the Brisbane match and Shipperd again declared the right-hander deserved another chance at Test level.
“I’ve been on the record many, many times saying he’s a class player,” Shipperd said.
“He has been unfortunately the recipient of not enough nods along the way.
“He’s a player who’s been in form, scored thousands of runs and he’s in rare form at the moment.”