Draw with Victoria keeps Tasmania top in Shield

Roger Vaughan |

Tasmania’s Tim Ward (L) and Jordan Silk leave the field after the Shield draw with Victoria.
Tasmania’s Tim Ward (L) and Jordan Silk leave the field after the Shield draw with Victoria.

Tim Ward and captain Jordan Silk made 50s before Tasmania closed out a tame draw with Victoria to stay top of the Sheffield Shield ladder.

As Melbourne’s stormy late-spring weather threatened, an early tea was called on Wednesday and the match ended, with no chance of a result at Melbourne’s Junction Oval.

Tasmania lost an early wicket on the final day before Ward and Silk saw Tasmania through to stumps, reaching 2-183 in their second innings.

Ward made an unbeaten 78 and Silk reached 82 in their third-wicket stand of 163.

A draw was always the most likely result, but there was excitement early on day four when Charlie Wakim followed up his first-innings top score of 148 by hitting a sharp catch to Will Sutherland off Todd Murphy to be out for nine.

That left the visitors at 2-20 after they resumed on Wednesday at 1-15, a lead of 94.

Ward and Silk then settled in and it soon became clear there would be no last-day fireworks as Victoria laboured in vain for another breakthrough.

“I couldn’t be happier and more proud of the group,” Silk said of Tasmania’s strong start to the summer.

“We’ve had multiple match-winners in our group this year, so long may that continue.

“There’s certainly a belief growing … that we can mix it with the best teams in the comp.”

Ward’s 193-ball knock included six fours and a six to follow his first-innings 67, while Silk hit 12 fours in his 181-ball stay at the crease.

Victoria’s Test hopeful Marcus Harris was named man of the match for his 164.

Travis Dean was subbed out of the game because of concussion, but Victoria are hopeful he will return for their next Shield game on Thursday week against Queensland at the MCG.

Fergus O’Neill and Mitchell Perry rolled ankles while bowling in the Tasmanian second innings and Perry will not travel to Launceston for Saturday’s one dayer.

But he and O’Neill are expected to be available for next week’s Shield game.

Sutherland said he was not sure about whether he regretted his decision to make Tasmania bat when he won the toss, given it was always going to be hard to achieve a result on the flat wicket.

“We were happy with the way we played the game,” he said.