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Bird treble helps Tas in Vic Shield draw

AAP logoAAP 7/12/2016 Andrew Drummond

Test bowler Jackson Bird has re-stated his value leading into Australia's series against Pakistan, taking three wickets for Tasmania in their rain-affected Sheffield Shield draw with Victoria.

An agonising final session at Bellerive Oval on Thursday started with the visitors well-placed to hunt down a win, shifted to them battling to avoid a loss and ended with a washout with less than five overs remaining.

Victoria, who crossed Bass Strait with a winning record for the season, finished at 8-319, 42 runs short of victory.

After being named in Australia's unchanged 12-man squad for the series opener starting in Brisbane next week, Bird took 3-68 including vital successive middle-order scalps to help cut through the Bushrangers.

Despite gallant stands by Dan Christian (79 not out), Cameron White (60) and opener Marcus Harris (51), the Bushrangers were unlikely to hunt down the 361-run second-innings target when rain ended play.

Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb, whose name was also among Australia's Test squad, contributed 17 and 30 for the visitors in his two innings.

Cameron Stevenson (3-77) and Sam Rainbird (2-71) helped Bird in the Tigers' attack.

After a lacklustre 203 first innings, Tassie's second dig produced 9(dec)-387 thanks largely to an unbeaten 122 by No.5 Beau Webster and a handy contribution by Jordan Silk (76).

Entering the final day at 0-44, Victoria's case wasn't helped by an injury to veteran allrounder John Hastings who didn't play a part on days three and four after leaving the ground on Tuesday with a knee complaint.

The Bushrangers' camp couldn't confirm Hastings' prognosis but he was seen hobbling around the sideline with a heavily strapped right leg on Thursday and didn't bat, effectively leaving Tassie one wicket short of a win.

The result is Victoria's first draw for the season, but they maintain a clear lead in the Sheffield Shield standings.

Handscomb admitted after play that once Victoria lost their seventh wicket on Thursday it was important to bat out the overs and not risk a loss.

"The message was relayed and we just tried to put the team first," he said.

"(But) we were still quite close toward the end."

When the umpires called off play due to rain during a Bird over, the stand-in captain hurled the ball into the turf in frustration, knowing that without Hasting batting Tassie needed only one more wicket for victory.

"Not being able to stay out on the ground was my main frustration ... and frustrated we couldn't come back on," Bird said.

After taking 2-70 during Victoria's first innings, Bird was pleased with his improvement on day four.

"I found my line and length pretty early on in the day which was pleasing, that's always a plus, and hopefully I can take that into the Test up in Brissy."

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