Jackson Birds burst rattles Western Australia but Ashton Agar holds firm

Western Australia 337 (Stoinis 61) and 9 for 383 dec (S Marsh 85, Stoinis 57, M Marsh 53, Agar 76*, Bird 5-78) drew with Tasmania 397 (Paine 121, Jewell 52)

Ashton Agar‘s unbeaten 76 ensured a draw at the WACA after Jackson Bird had taken three wickets in an over to open up the chance of a Tasmania run chase.

Bird, who finished with 5 for 78, removed Josh Inglis, Cameron Green and Jhye Richardson in the space of six deliveries – all to catches by Tim Paine, the second a terrific leg-side take – at which point Western Australia were 238 runs ahead with 46 overs still remaining in the day.

However, Agar and Joel Paris, who batted with a runner after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the match, added an unbroken 85 for the tenth wicket and any chance of a positive result had been nullified well before Western Australia declared to end the game.

They had resumed with a lead of 88 but both Marsh brothers departed inside the first hour to give Tasmania hope of pushing for victory. Mitchell Marsh bunted a return catch to Bird in the opening over before Shaun Marsh edged an excellent delivery from Sam Rainbird 15 runs short of a century.

Debutant Lawrence Neil-Smith continued his impressive match by removing Josh Philippe, caught on the rebound by Bird at first slip, but Marcus Stoinis held Tasmania at bay with his second half-century of the match which was brought up with a mighty pull for six.