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Tasmania off the pace in Shield: Cowan

AAP logoAAP 27/11/2016 Andrew Drummond

As Tasmania call on their best batsmen to chase down a lofty Sheffield Shield target set by NSW, turncoat opener Ed Cowan suggests a lack of depth in the Tigers pace ranks is to blame for the side's form.

The hosts will return to Bellerive Oval on Tuesday needing a further 391 runs for victory - a challenge that seems too great based on Tasmania's dismal first-innings effort of 209.

One-time Test batsman and former Tigers opener Cowan, now batting at No.1 for the Blues, on day three topped up NSW's healthy lead, spearheading their rapid-fire second-innings which came to an end with their second declaration of the match at 1-128.

After failing in the first round, out for eight, the left-hander on Monday raced to 66 from 73 balls on the flattening Bellerive pitch.

Downplaying NSW's stronghold over the match, Cowan said Tasmania's first-class XI had changed since he left two seasons ago.

"Our success when I was down here relied on some really high-quality fast bowling ... that's certainly one aspect that's probably lacking," he said, citing retired quicks Ben Hilfenhaus and Luke Butterworth.

Test duties mean Tasmania is without fast bowler Jackson Bird and ODI squad member James Faulkner is on light duties, leaving the bulk of the work to Simon Milenko, Cameron Stevenson, Hamish Kingston and Sam Rainbird who have limited experience.

"I was a very proud member of the team and I loved playing cricket for Tasmania," Cowan said.

"It's been hard to watch from afar but I do know there are some strong characters in that changeroom that are keen to turn it around."

Returning to the pitch late on Monday, the Tigers quickly lost opener Jordan Silk (one) and are 1-24 at stumps.

In reply to NSW's first-innings 5(dec)-495, Tasmania's top-order were cheaply dismissed and wicketkeeper Jake Doran (66) was the sole glimmer of hope.

Veteran NSW paceman Trent Copeland (6-54) carved through the Tasmanian line-up and has already struck in the second innings, claiming Silk.

Doran said the Tigers were still in with a chance.

"We've got a long grind to either win the game ...we're still looking to win."

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