Alice Springs: A historic third consecutive Sheffield Shield title is within Victoria’s reach after the Bushrangers overcame a turbulent start to day two of the final at Traeger Park.
South ripped through the Victorian middle order early on Monday morning but were denied for more than 63 overs by the seventh-wicket partnership of Seb Gotch and James Pattinson, who put on 139 to quash the Redbacks’ resistance.
Pattinson (80) and Gotch (52) both topped their previous high first-class scores before falling shortly after South took the third new ball as Victoria lost 4-3 late in their innings. But by then it was probably too late for the Redbacks, with the Bushrangers all out for an imposing 487. No team has ever lost a Shield final with a score that big when batting first, and the Bushrangers need only to draw this final to win three Shields in a row for the first time in the state’s history.
Pattinson’s outstanding day continued when he bowled Redbacks opener John Dalton for a duck in the first over of the South n innings.
Jake Weatherald and Callum Ferguson clawed their way to to stumps, but the Redbacks’ chances of breaking their 21-year Shield drought seem remote with three days left to play at 1-19, still 468 runs behind.
Redbacks seamer Chadd Sayers kept alive his chances of breaking Colin Miller’s record of 67 wickets in a Shield season. Sayers took 7-84, needing another seven in Victoria’s second innings to claim the record outright. South n wicketkeeper Alex Carey also finished with five catches for the innings, drawing him level with the Shield record of 58 in a season.
But while South enjoyed the statistical spoils, the silverware looks likely to remain in Melbourne.
Resuming the day at 3-322, the runs flowed freely early for Victoria, before Rob Quiney (48), Cameron White (17) and Daniel Christian (four) all fell in quick succession.
The turning point might have been when Pattinson survived a big LBW shout from Sayers before scoring. Both men said later that they thought the right decision had been made.
After that scare Pattinson and Gotch battened down the hatches before accelerating shortly before the third new ball was taken, consigning spinner Adam Zampa to the unflattering figures of 1-175.
Pattinson said he was glad his diligent approach to batting had paid off. “I’ve always hoped I could get to No. 7 one day and become an all-rounder so I’ll just keep working towards that hopefully.”