Victoria 351 (Handscomb 123, Dean 75, Harris 65, Mennie 4-92) and 2 for 22 (Dean 10*, White 2*) need 102 more runs to beat South Australia 244 and 230 (McInerney 63, Sayers 56, Pattinson 3-24)
James Pattinson spearheaded Victoria’s push towards a hat-trick of early-season Shield victories with three wickets against South Australia at the MCG, but two late strikes for Joe Mennie gave the visitors hope of pulling of a spectacular comeback.
Victoria were left a target of 124 and had nervously reached 2 for 22 at stumps, still well placed to follow their two innings victories this season but not sitting quite as comfortably as they could have been after running through the Redbacks’ middle order.
Playing his first Shield match for 20 months, Pattinson jettisoned Callum Ferguson before later adding the in-form pair of Jake Lehmann and Tom Cooper as the Redbacks stumbled having conceded a first-innings lead of 107.
Despite the early loss of Jake Weatherald, lbw to Peter Siddle, being followed by Ferguson in the 18th over, Lehmann and Conor McInerney (63) had taken South Australia back into the lead with a stand 68 before Pattinson’s intervention changed the picture dramatically.
The Redbacks continued to lose 6 for 48 as McInerney was caught behind off Scott Boland then legspinner Fawad Ahmed picked up a brace of lbws. However, Chadd Sayers struck his maiden first-class fifty as he and Harry Nielsen added 55 in 10 overs to push the lead into three-figures before Chris Tremain broke through.
In a testing period before stumps Mennie, who started the day by quickly claiming the last three wickets in Victoria’s first innings, removed Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb – who was dismissed twice in the day having resumed unbeaten on 123 – and with Lloyd Pope also up their sleeve South Australia won’t have given up hope.