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Dancing Vics make South China pay

Alice Springs: A century from a dancing Marcus Harris helped Victoria ram home their advantage on day one of the Sheffield Shield final as South were made to rue three dropped catches in the hour after lunch.
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Searching for a historic third consecutive Shield crown – something never achieved by the state in the competition’s 125 year history – the Bushrangers reached stumps at 3-322 after openers Travis Dean and Harris capitalised on lives given by Redbacks fieldsmen.

Having made a century in the Shield final two summers ago when playing for Western against Victoria, the Bushrangers were glad to have Harris on their side this time as the left-hander rode his luck before eventually being caught at gully on 120 by Joe Mennie off the bowling of Chadd Sayers.

Harris fell moments after Dean was bowled around his legs by Adam Zampa for 94, but only after the openers made South pay by adding 224 for the first wicket.

The pair had reached lunch largely untroubled at 0-86, but were tested after the interval. Harris posted his 50 just before lunch, but should have been gone on 54 after edging Mennie to first slip where Daniel Worrall spilled a straightforward chance. Worrall was later the unfortunate bowler as Harris offered a sharp chance on 59 to gully where Jake Lehmann couldn’t hang on. Harris’ two lucky breaks flanked a dropped catch at gully by Callum Ferguson as Dean flashed hard off Sayers on 32.

Forced to toil in near 40 degree heat, the Redbacks were punished as Dean and Harris reached tea with their partnership intact.

Harris capped an impressive first season with the Bushrangers when he posted his century shortly before tea, and celebrated his achievement with an unusual mid-pitch jig. The Victorian batsman attributed his moves to a viral video doing the rounds among the team.

On a more serious note, Harris said he wasn’t sure why Victoria had been troubled after lunch.

“It was just one of those things where a few things happened really quickly and we just had to calm it down a bit.”

Even after the openers departed Victoria didn’t relent as Rob Quiney and Aaron Finch continued to pile on the runs before Finch became Sayers’ 56th Shield victim of the summer when he was trapped LBW on 38 with the first delivery after the new ball was taken.

Quiney (44 not out) and Cameron White (seven not out) survived until the close of play, leaving Victoria in a commanding position.

Earlier, stand-in Victorian captain White won the toss and elected to bat in a match Victoria need only to draw to claim the trophy. Despite finding more green than expected on the pitch, the Bushrangers left paceman Scott Boland out of their XI, opting to pick Fawad Ahmed for just his second game of the season, acknowledging the leggie’s imposing record at the venue.

A-League: Newcastle Jets’ finals hopes crushed in 5-0 rout to Wellington Phoenixphotos, poll

DOWN AND OUT: Andrew Hoole walks away as Kosta Barbarouses is mobbed by teammates. Picture: Getty ImagesNEWCASTLE Jets’ slim finals hopes have come to an embarrassing end after they were thrashed 5-0 by an under-strength Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday night.
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With their season on the line, the Jets produced their worst performance of the campaign.

The home side, minus seven players on international duty headed by captain Andrew Durante, keeper Glen Moss and strike pair Roy Krishna and Shane Smeltz, dominated from the outset.

Jets’ finals hope crushed in embarrassing loss TweetFacebookThe job became harder in the 24thminute thanks to the brilliance of Barbarouses.

A shock omission from the All Whites side, Barbarouses broke clear and turned Jets defender Lachlan Jackson inside-out before drilling an angled shot past the right hand of Jack Duncan.

It was the 14thgame this season the Jets have conceded the opener.

Jason Hoffman had earlier stung the gloves of Phoenix keeper Lewis Italiano – one of five fresh faces in the starting side –and Andrew Nabbout had a shot deflect into the side netting.

Barbarouses turned provider for the second goal. He delivered a cross from the left for Finkler who muscled in front of Jackson and thumped a header in off the left post.

The Jets struggled to get out of their own territory at times, withPhoenix picking off 11 passes in the first half alone.

Most of the Phoenix damage was done down the left. Jones reacted at half-time by replacingJohnny Koutroumbis with Daniel Mullen.

“We said at half-time, this is it,” Jones said. “If we lose we are done. Is that the best you have got?”

It did little to stop the haemorrhaging. Three minutes after the break Ridenton side-footed a low shot through a crowded box after a Dylan Fox header hit the crossbar.

With nothing more to lose, the Jets bombed forward and started to create chances.

Lewis Italiano denied Hoole, then Nabbout with a double save in the 57thminute.Hoole blazed high two minutes later and Morten Nordstrand also overcooked a shot from distance.

The Jets finally found the back of the net in the 66thminute, but unfortunately it was at the wrong end, with Jason Hoffman slotting an innocuous Hamish Watson cross into the visitors’ own goal.