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Bird and Siddle leave Victoria on the ropes


Victory 121 and 7 for 162 (Bird 4-19) advantage tasmania 220 (Doran 85) for 63 runs

Former Test rapids Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle have once again overtaken Victoria’s top order to put Tasmania firmly in control of their Sheffield Shield contest.

The veteran pair shared seven wickets in the first innings and fell back with figures of 4 for 19 and 2 for 33 respectively in Victoria’s second innings at the MCG on Friday, limiting the hosts to 7 for 162.

Victoria held a 63 lead at stumps on day two, after Jake Doran (85) had earlier spiked with the bat to lead Tasmania into a strong position.

“The wicket suited our bowling attack very well, but it gave [Bird and Siddle] credit, they’re two world-class bowlers,” Doran said. “Those two that came in and opened the bowling…it was very good.”

Bird has excelled with match figures of 8 for 32 from 31 overs, including 16 maidens.

“He’s bowled very well and it’s good to see him,” Doran said. “He puts in a lot of work and trains very hard and does it every season. He comes back and produces for us and [in this match] He has reaped the rewards.”

Victoria faces a monumental task defending herself on Saturday as they chase their first Shield win of the season.

Sam Harper (24 not out) will resume at the crease with debutant Sam Elliott after Will Sutherland (44) bowled his wicket late on the second day.

“Do you want to get to [a lead of] triple figures. Anything below that is quite challenging,” said substitute captain Nic Maddinson. “But with the wicket still moving, especially with the new ball, so if we can get to 100 [we’re a chance].

“We’ve got two guys who can hit and score quickly once they’re in. If we can get to triple figures, at least then we can attack with the new ball and keep receivers in and you never know.”

Doran defied the favorable conditions for bowlers on a green cover to be the only batsman in the match to go over 50, but fell short of what would have been his fourth first-class century.

The left-hander was the last man out in Tasmania’s first innings of 220, in response to Victoria’s paltry 121.

Fast right-arm Elliott, the son of former Test batsman Matthew Elliot, impressed on Victoria’s debut and claimed 3 for 45