VICTORIA will need results to fall their way today to have any chance of scraping into the top-two of the Sheffield Shield after missing out on first innings points at the MCG yesterday.
Queensland and Tasmania, both equal on points with Victoria, took large first innings leads into Day 3 of their final-round matches. Victoria will need to win their match outright and hope both Queensland and Tasmania play out, a seemingly-unlikely outcome with both matches into the third innings.
New South Wales Blues took a lead of 23 into the second innings after restricting the home side to 185, only for Peter Siddle to take 2/38 late in the day and hold the Blues to 6/149 before stumps.
Victoria has hope of finishing the NSW tail this morning, and holding the Blues to less than 200. However on a pitch where bowler is king, no matter the target total, the Victorians will be greatly challenged batting last.
Earlier, Bushrangers captain Cameron White top-scored with 39 before slow-medium bowler Ben Rohrer took 4/13, including 3 wickets in an over, to dismiss the Victorian tail in quick fashion.
Rohrer, a middle-order batsman, had previously only bowled 14 overs at first class level for no success. His 29-ball spell made a mockery of the Bushrangers’ first innings chase.
Victoria is aiming to play in their fourth final in five years, after winning the 2008/09 and 2009/10 titles.
TASSIE PUNTER WINS FIRST INNINGS
TASMANIAN pair Ricky Ponting and Ed Cowan both hit centuries in their fixture against ladder-leaders Western Australia at Bellerive as the Tigers put forward their claim to play in the Sheffield Shield final.
Ponting, left out of the Australian ODI series in the West Indies, hit his second century for the Tigers in as many games with 111, combining with Cowan (143) for a 205-run partnership that humiliated the visitors’ first innings score of 142.
The Warriors began their second innings in less than ideal fashion, losing Liam Davis in the fifth over, before closing at 1/33 at stumps, still trailing by 188.
MEANWHILE Jamie Burns secured first-innings points for Queensland with a controlled 130 as the Bulls made 356 in their first innings at the Gabba, after resuming at 2/58. Chris Hartley made a stylish 68 as the Queenslanders punished the wooden-spooners.
South Australian left-arm quick Gary Putland was the main resistance from the Redbacks, taking 6/72 including the wickets of Burns, Hartley and captain James Hopes.
The Redbacks, still trailing by 182 runs, will resume at 1/12, after Michael Klinger was out LBW to Hopes before stumps.