Victoria on top; Siddle and Bird press their claims

Tasmania 4 for 93 trail Victoria 415 (Harris 115, Handscomb 78, Wade 78, White 64, Bird 3-75, Milenko 3-98) by 322 runs

Simon Milenko picked up 3 for 98 © Getty Images

Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle both performed admirably in their Test auditions on a rain-affected second day at the MCG, where play continued until 10.30pm in an effort to make up lost overs. At stumps, Tasmania were struggling in their first innings on 4 for 93, with George Bailey on 25 and James Faulkner on 14, and they still trailed Victoria by 322 runs.

It was a difficult evening session for Tasmania’s top order against the pink ball as Siddle and his pace-bowling colleagues Chris Tremain and Scott Boland proved hard to get away. Siddle sent down 10 typically miserly overs and picked up 1 for 17, bowling Beau Webster for 20 after Tremain had earlier trapped both Tasmania openers – Caleb Jewell and Ben Dunk – lbw cheaply.

Daniel Christian also chipped in with the wicket of Alex Doolan, lbw for 21, and it meant a mountain of work remained ahead of the Tigers at the halfway point of the match. The Bushrangers had resumed the day on 4 for 351 and batted for a further 22.2 overs for the loss of their final six wickets, putting on 64 runs in that time.

Matthew Wade was lbw to Simon Milenko for 78 and Cameron White was caught for 64 off the bowling of Bird, who had been tidy on day one without gaining many rewards. Bird also had Christian caught behind for 3 to finish with 3 for 75 from his 30 overs, which included 10 maidens, and ahead of Friday’s naming of Australia’s squad for the first Test against South Africa it was a solid performance.

The likelihood is that Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will be joined by Nathan Lyon and one further fast bowler in the WACA Test, with Bird and Siddle both leading candidates having played on February’s Test tour of New Zealand. It is possible that both men will be named in the squad on Friday before the final XI is chosen closer to the match.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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