Sheffield Shield 2022-23 – Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle leave Victoria on the ropes

Jackson Bird, Matt Kelly sign early-season County Championship deals

Victoria 121 and 7 for 162 (Bird 4-19) lead Tasmania 220 (Doran 85) by 63 runs

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

The veteran pair shared seven first-innings wickets and backed up 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 had a lead of 63 at stumps on day two, after Jake Doran (85) had earlier dug in with the bat to steer Tasmania into a strong position.

“The wicket did suit our bowling attack really well but give [Bird and Siddle] credit, they’re two world-class bowlers,” Doran said. “Those two coming in and opening the bowling…it was very good.”

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

“He’s bowled very well and it’s good to see,” 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’s reaped the rewards.”

Victoria face a monumental task to fight back on Saturday as they chase their first win of the Shield season.

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

“You want to get to [a lead of] triple figures. Anything under that and it’s pretty challenging,” stand-in captain Nic Maddinson said. “But with the wicket still moving around, especially with the new ball, so if we can get to 100 [we’re a chance].

“We’ve got two guys in that can bat and can 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 catchers in and you just never know.”

Doran defied bowler-friendly conditions on a green deck to be the only batsman in the match to pass 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 reply to Victoria’s paltry 121.

Right-arm quick Elliott, the son of former Test batsman Matthew Elliot, has impressed on debut for Victoria and claimed 3 for 45

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