Shield’s set to go down to the wire
CRICKET: Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales are locked in a three-way battle at the top of the Sheffield Shield ladder after all three recorded victories in round nine.
Victoria (48.54 points) edged to a slight lead after thrashing South Australia by an innings and one run in Glenelg.
The Bushrangers declared at 6-534 in their first innings, before knocking over the Redbacks for 175 and 358 to complete the win.
New South Australia captain Travis Head provided stubborn resistance on the final day with 85, while Victorian bowlers Marcus Stoinis (3-27), Dan Christian (2-38), Scott Boland (2-52) and Fawad Ahmed (2-83) were all among the wickets.
The Bushrangers can book their place in the final if they beat Tasmania in the final round.
The Tigers' disappointing season continued when they were beaten by 10 wickets by third-placed New South Wales (44.82) at Blacktown Oval.
Former Test paceman Doug Bollinger ripped through the Tasmanian tail early on the final day, finishing with 4-23, including the scalp of rookie Beau Webster who made his highest first-class score of 83 as the visitors were dismissed for 183.
That left a victory target of just 27, which Blues openers Scott Henry and Ryan Carters reached without difficulty.
NSW will play second-placed Western Australia (48.48) in Perth in the final round, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the decider.
WA had little trouble beating Queensland by 95 runs in their match at Allan Border Field.