Western Australia put themselves back on top again after conceding the advantage on the second day of the Sheffield Shield Final as the home side finished day 3 with a lead of 171 runs. WA still have seven wickets in hand and will look to extend the lead further with two days left in the game.
Victoria let go off an excellent opportunity to fetch a first innings lead on the third morning. Resuming at 147/3, Victoria made an excellent start to the day with Peter Handscomb and Mitchell Perry stitching a useful stand to keep the WA bowlers at bay. The pair were involved in a century stand and threatened to dominate the day before Aaron Hardie ended Handscomb’s stay at the crease. Even though the skipper fell 20 runs short of a century, Victoria were still in a very good position at 262/4 as the first innings lead was in their sights.
However, Joel Paris triggered a collapse by first getting rid of Nic Maddinson and Jonathan Merlo and then the rest crumbled. The game turned on its head once again with the collapse ensuring WA fetch a sizeable first innings lead of 80 runs.
First-innings centurion Cameron Bancroft then fell for a duck in the first over, much to Victoria’s relief and Matthew Short got rid of Shaun Marsh for just 13 to entertain hopes of another comeback. But Sam Whiteman held forte at one end to ensure his side didn’t wilt under pressure. Scott Boland did remove Hilton Cartwright before stumps but Victoria need another special performance from their bowlers, similar to the one on the first day to spark a comeback that will keep them in the hunt for the title.
Brief scores: Western Australia 386 & 91/3 (Sam Whiteman 45*; Scott Boland 2-14) lead Victoria 306 (Peter Handscomb 80, Mitchell Perry 74; Aaron Hardie 3-54, Joel Paris 3-95) by 171 runs