MELBOURNE - An unbeaten century from Luke Butterworth has helped Tasmania salvage a remarkable draw in its Sheffield Shield match with Victoria at the MCG yesterday.
The Tigers began the final day in dire straits on 5-116 and a massive 201 runs behind the Bushrangers, who declared at 9-523 on Wednesday in response to Tasmania's first dig of 206.
However, with immeasurable mental fortitude, Butterworth (107no) spearheaded a remarkable rearguard action to guide the visitors to 7-291 at the close of play and deny Victoria a seemingly inevitable win.
With neither side able to qualify for the final, Victoria threw everything at the Tigers, with Dean Russ, Rob Quiney and Peter Handscomb the only players to miss out on having a bowl.
However, for all their efforts they could only manage two wickets on the final day.
It could have been a different story for the Vics had tailender Xavier Doherty (20no off 139 balls) not been dropped twice at first slip by Quiney on one and Handscomb on 15.
Butterworth's 314-ball innings lasted six hours and 45 minutes, but he had his helpers - namely skipper Tim Paine (44 off 158 balls) and Doherty.
The centurion combined with Paine for a crucial 110-run sixth-wicket union that spanned 301 balls in the first half of the day, and his unbeaten partnership with Doherty saw out the final session-and-a-bit.
Scott Boland (2-42) and Fawad Ahmed (2-129) were the pick of the Victorian bowlers.
The result means Victoria still hasn't won at the MCG in over a year and it will be chasing its first victory since November when it meets Queensland next week at the same venue.
With one match left in the season, the Victoria has an uphill battle to avoid winning its first wooden spoon in 18 years.