–SA with backs to the wall in Shield final

March 28, 2017

Victoria heads into the fourth morning of the Sheffield Shield final in Alice Springs knowing that a record third consecutive competition win is within their grasp.

The Vics will resume at 2-38 with opener Travis Dean on 12 and nightwatchman Chris Tremain on 3.

The Bushrangers boast a 238-run lead and should they bat for two further sessions, South Australia will be faced with a near-impossible task on a pitch that is showing signs of deteriorating.

Victoria’s hefty 200-run lead on the first innings was the result of career-best bowling from spinner Jon Holland.

The left-arm orthodox spinner collected 7-82, having also claimed eight wickets in Victoria’s Shield final win over South Australia last year.

The 29-year-old says the Traeger Park wicket will provide a major challenge for South Australia who have to bat last.

“It (the wicket) is starting to wear and tear a little bit now,” said Holland.

“There are a few footmarks for the left-handers and a couple of balls are keeping low and shooting through.

“We are in a good position so hopefully we can build a big lead tomorrow.”

Though Victoria only need to draw to retain the Shield, Holland said the Vics are unlikely to be too defensive over the final two days.

“We haven’t spoken about it as a team (playing for a draw),” Holland said.

“We will go out and bat normally and try and establish a big lead if we are good enough.

“Anything is possible. South Australia have a pretty dangerous batting line-up, and they play attacking cricket.

“If we can establish a big enough lead we can set defensive fields and attack from there.”

South Australia will look to in-form seamer Chadd Sayers – the Shield’s leading wicket-taker – and Zampa to make an early breakthrough on Wednesday.

“A couple of wickets there at the end of the day give us some hope that we can take some quick wickets in the morning, and hopefully chase less than 450-400 on what is pretty tough conditions,” said South Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

“Our bowlers have been great for us all year, so we are going to come out and take as many wickets as we can at the start of the day.”

As the lower-ranked side on the Shield ladder at the end of the season, South Australia must win the five-day match if they are to end their 21-year title drought. – All News First!

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