History beckons in Pura Cup final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

History beckons in Pura Cup final

By Laine Clark 21/03/2007 08:28:45 PM Comments (0)

History will be made no matter who wins the 2006-07 Pura Cup final as Tasmania set about building a challenging victory target for NSW on day three in Hobart.

All eyes are on the Tigers as they look to claim their maiden Cup title in the first final held in Hobart after they reached 6-203 at stumps - a lead of 313.

But NSW will also earn a place in the history books if they rattle off the winning runs.

The highest successful fourth innings run chase in the 24-game Pura Cup final history was made by Victoria in 1990-91 when they struck 2-239 to down NSW at the MCG.

And NSW's winning chances should not be dismissed judging by their fighting display on day three.

After Tasmania were sitting pretty at 2-107 with an overall lead of 217, NSW struck back to claim 4-69 and remain with a sniff with two scheduled days left.

Fighting half centuries by Tigers opener Michael Di Venuto (64) and vice-captain George Bailey (50) looked to have seized the initiative for Tasmania, only for NSW to fight back through Matthew Nicholson (3-52).

"We are in the game now. We've got some work to do ... Tassie are in front but we are clawing our way back," Nicholson said.

"It's always hard to chase in the fourth innings, it's a big mental obstacle, but if we bat well we have shown we can get big scores."

He was referring to the Blues' last second innings dig at Bellerive Oval earlier this month.

In that see-sawing match, NSW were bundled out for 53 in their first innings before plundering 498 in their next, but were still beaten by Tasmania by seven wickets, guaranteeing the Tigers their first home Cup final.

"I reckon we can chase anything, we've got a real upbeat group of guys and always take that attitude into our cricket," Nicholson said.

"We will be going into the chase, whatever it might be, with a positive frame of mind and belief that we can win."

Tigers skipper Dan Marsh hardly sounded comfortable with his handy lead.

"We are confident we can bowl them out for whatever we set. But I would love it if we put on another 100," he said.

"I think there is going to be a result in this game, one way or another."

The stage is set for Tasmanian allrounder Luke Butterworth to add another chapter to his remarkable Tigers tale.

Butterworth - who will resume on Thursday on 22 - has already had a dream final.

After hitting his first 50 in an 111-run, eighth wicket stand in Tasmania's first innings of 340, Butterworth bagged 4-33 in NSW's first dig of 230.

And he looked determined to provide another match-turning hand as he soaked up late pressure from spin twins Nathan Hauritz and Stuart MacGill to carry his bat into day four.

But Butterworth had to survive a confident lbw shout by former Test spinner MacGill (1-42) late in the day.

"With the bat he (Butterworth) is a big key. If he can push toward another 50 and beyond that's going to set us up for a real big lead," Marsh said.

Tasmania have lost all three finals they have played since the decider was first adopted in the 1982-83 season.

They only need a draw to claim a maiden Cup while NSW require an outright victory to seal a remarkable 45th domestic title.

In reply to Tasmania's first innings of 340, NSW resumed on 8-207 with allrounder Grant Lambert (61) showing early resistance before Butterworth struck.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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