Victoria 487 and 2 for 38 lead South Australia 287 (Weatherald 60, Carey 57, Holland 7-82) by 238 runs
A career-best seven-wicket haul from Jon Holland ensured Victoria remained in control of the Sheffield Shield final on the third day against South Australia in Alice Springs. It was the second consecutive season that Holland has delivered a big bag of wickets in the decider – last year he claimed five in the second innings and eight for the match in Victoria’s win over the Redbacks in Adelaide.
After dismissing South Australia for 287 and thus earning a lead of exactly 200, the Bushrangers not surprisingly decided againt enforcing the follow-on, hoping instead to build their advantage to unbeatable proportions. A couple of late wickets gave South Australia a faint sniff, but with Victoria at 2 for 38, with Travis Dean on 12 and nightwatchman Chris Tremain on 3, the lead was still a hefty 238.
The day had started with South Australia on 1 for 19 and although Callum Ferguson and Jake Weatherald rebuilt with a 76-run second-wicket stand, they were unable to turn it into a match-changing partnership. Ferguson edged to slip for 26 to give Holland his first wicket and in his next over Holland turned one sharply from outside off to have Travis Head lbw for an 11-ball duck.
Jake Lehmann was well snapped at short leg by Rob Quiney, whose fine reflexes gave Holland a third wicket, and James Pattinson then chipped in by bowling Tom Cooper for 6. Weatherald, who had compiled a fighting half-century, fell for 60 when he played back and was bowled trying to cut Holland, and at 6 for 121 South Australia were threatening to collapse completely.
However, there remained some fight in the lower order. Joe Mennie and wicketkeeper Alex Carey produced a 68-run partnership that ended when Mennie’s attempted sweep on 36 was top-edged to the wicketkeeper to provide a five-for for Holland. Carey brought up his half-century before he was caught at midwicket sweeping Holland on 57 to end a fine counter-attacking effort.
It continued an outstanding season for Carey, who during the innings passed the 500-run mark this Shield summer to add to his 58 wicketkeeping dismissals so far. He became just the fourth player to complete the double of 500 runs and 50 dismissals in a Shield campaign: the recently-retired Chris Hartley did so three times, and Matthew Wade and Adam Gilchrist once each.
Adam Zampa fell to Daniel Christian for 31 and Holland wrapped up the innings with Daniel Worrall caught at slip for 17 to leave Chadd Sayers unbeaten on 23 as the Redbacks were dismissed for 287. Holland’s 7 for 82 took his season tally to 49 Shield wickets, second only to Sayers in the competition and the highest season tally by a spinner since Stuart MacGill claimed 54 wickets in 2004-05.
Sayers added one more to his tally by having first-innings centurion Marcus Harris caught for 21 late in the day and Daniel Worrall followed up with the wicket of Quiney, but South Australia will need to instigate a significant collapse upon Victoria on the fourth day and then bat flawlessly to pull off the victory they need to end their two-decade drought without a Shield title.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale
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