Cowan in drive to `blow game open'

ED Cowan has thrown down the challenge to himself and the rest of Tasmania's top six to ``blow the game open'' as the Tigers desperately attempt to resuscitate their Sheffield Shield defence.

Dan Marsh's Tigers enter today's replay of the past two finals against Queensland needing maximum points from their final three outings if they are any hope of qualifying again, but are hampered by the absences of captain George Bailey and all-rounder Luke Butterworth.

Former Test opener Cowan told  The Examiner  he expected his teammates to respond by playing ``tough, disciplined cricket'' against the Bulls.

``I think it's time that the batsmen stepped up and not just contribute, but to win the game for the team,'' Cowan said.

``We've only had four hundreds scored for the whole season, which isn't enough.

``Myself included, we need to step up and not just post a score that keeps us in the game, but blows the game open for our team.

``We're going to have to respond, or the season will slip away pretty quickly.''

The 31-year-old said he thought there was ``an underlying belief'' among a team that was used to winning to make another late season charge to the final.

``But you can't get too far ahead when the pressure is on, as you've just got to win this game, and play well hour by hour, and come the next day, do exactly the same thing.

``If you start to think `you have to win these three games' you can get a bit daunted by that.''

Cowan, who resumed first-class cricket in last week's loss to Western Australia after not taking part in the Big Bash League, admitted it took him some time to get his rhythm back, but was thankful for the time in the middle in his contributions of 16 and 59.

Batting at either the top of the order or No. 3, Cowan has scored 489 runs at 40.75 in his six outings this summer.

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