Tasmania has escaped with a draw at the SCG despite some superb bowling by Australian Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon that almost clinched victory for the New South Wales Blues on the final day of the round three Sheffield Shield match on Thursday.
Lyon (4-88) claimed four wickets late on the fourth day, but the visitors battled their way to stumps to finish at 7/264. Beau Webster (80 not out) and Jackson Bird (6 not out) remained unbeaten to secure the draw.
Overnight, Tasmania surprisingly declared at 4/115 trailing NSW by 327, after rain caused most of day three to be abandoned. Then after just four overs in their second innings, the home side followed suit with a sporting declaration of their own.
Blues captain Peter Nevill declared at 1/22 to set the visitors 350 to win from 106 overs remaining in the day’s play.
Nearly every Blues player was around the bat awaiting a possible catch in the last three overs of the match, however Webster and Bird survived. Both teams agreed to shake hands with two balls left in the final over.
Lyon was excellent during his 34.4 overs at the bowling crease and claimed four wickets within 15 overs in the final session to give the Blues a real prospect of victory late on the final day.
Earlier, Tasmania made a solid start to the chase. Alex Doolan (90) and Jordan Silk (23) shared a 66-run opening stand to couple with their 92-run partnership at the top of the order in the first innings.
Silk was the first wicket to fall for Tasmania in the second innings. He was caught down the leg side from the bowling of Blues’ seamer Sean Abbott (2-51).
Doolan continued to occupy the crease and edged his way to a century before he became the first scalp of the match for Steve O’Keefe (1-56), caught at short mid-off.
Tasmania then moved on to 2/199 before Lyon entered centre stage. He claimed the wicket of Jake Doran (33), caught and bowled, with a fine catch low and to the left of the off-spinner.
In his next over, Lyon had his second when he completely deceived George Bailey (6) in flight and the Tasmanian skipper was bowled.
Webster was the anchor for the Tasmanians and he brought up his half-century from 147 balls.
On the last ball of the 90th over, Abbott claimed the vital wicket of Matthew Wade (16), leg before wicket, and the Blues’ could smell victory.
Australian Test captain Tim Paine (1) closely followed. Lyon bowled his national skipper through the legs and Tasmania was in significant trouble at 6/248.
Lyon had his fourth when he squared up Tom Rogers, who was caught expertly at first slip by Copeland for a duck, and the visitors had lost 5/51 within 15 overs.
The wicket of Rogers caused a change in plan for Tasmania and it turned to survival mode to save the match.
Full scorecard here: https://bit.ly/2PaWplj