Sheffield Shield: Victoria claim third straight title after draw with South Australia

Victoria won their third successive Sheffield Shield title after a draw with South Australia at Traeger Park, Alice Springs, in the 2016/17 Final.

For the Victorians it was their 31st title but the first time a Bushrangers side had claimed three successive titles, as well as becoming became only the fifth side in Shield history to do so.

In a repeat of last season’s final, Victorian skipper Cameron White won the toss and decided to bat – a decision which his openers backed up.

Marcus Harris and Travis Dean put down a marker for the Bushrangers as they made a first wicket partnership of 224, as Dean made 94, and Harris made 120 – passing 800 Shield runs for the season in the process.

Young ‘keeper Seb Gotch weighed in with 52 and James Pattinson notched an unlikely 80 down the order to push Victoria’s score to a massive 487.

Chadd Sayers, the Shield’s leading wicket taker was in-form for South Australia though as he took 7-84, while Dan Worrall, Joe Mennie and Adam Zampa each took one wicket.

In response to Victoria’s mammoth total the Redbacks made just 287 as Jon Holland took 7-82, Pattinson took two and Dan Christian picked up one wicket.

Jake Weatherald played well at the top for South Australia, making 60, and Alex Carey made 57. But without lower order runs from Zampa, Mennie and Sayers the South Australian total would have looked very sparse.

With a first innings lead of 200 and the Shield title within their grasp Victoria made 323 to put the Redback’s chance of winning well out of reach.

Aaron Finch top scored with 83, Christian made 53 and Gotch 48 as they batted themseleves into a lead of 524.

For South Australia Worrall, Zampa, Mennie and Travis Head all took two wickets apiece, while Sayers took 1-57 – as he finished at the Shield’s top wicket taker with 62 at an average of 19.

Needing 524 for the win then, and a miracle, South Australia batted into the final day until they finished on 236/6 and although the game was drawn, the Bushrangers were victorious.

A stubborn innings from South Australian skipper Head was the highlight as he made a fine unbeaten 137, while Johnathan Dalton (32) and Carey (45 off 46 balls) provided support.

Fawad Ahmed was the pick of the Victorian bowlers as he took 3-81, though Pattinson took 2-45 to finish with 24 Shield wickets at 17.4. While Holland picked up one scalp to add to his seven in the first innings and finished as Victoria’s top wicket taker with 50 scalps at 20.8 apiece.

So Victoria completed their hat trick of Sheffield Shield wins and to even more impressively they won each Shield under the guidance of a different coach.

Andrew McDonald took the reins this season, while David Saker led them to glory last year and Greg Sheppard the year before.

Matt Bullin

Matt is a young journalist who has loved both playing and watching cricket from an early age. He has covered a range of county cricket over the last few years and also follows England's exploits closely.

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