Sydney: Victoria will head into Christmas at the top of Australia's Sheffield Shield standings after thrashing New South Wales by nine wickets inside three days on Saturday.
Resuming its second innings at 110 for five, NSW lost 5 for 40 as Shane Harwood (5/54) and Mathew Inness (3/33) took advantage of poor NSW batting. That left Victoria needing only 23 runs for victory, which it achieved in even time for the loss of only Jason Arnberger (5). Matthew Elliott was not out on 12 and Graeme Rummans six. NSW pair Mark Waugh and Michael Clarke carried the NSW hopes at the start of the day, but they could only muster 23 runs before the rot set in. Waugh was dismissed for 45, shouldering arms to a Harwood delivery which cut back and took his off bail, and Clarke was out seven runs later for 38. In Hobart, champion Queensland was six wickets from victory after forcing Tasmania to follow on. At stumps on the third day, Tasmania was 99 for four - with Scott Mason on 40 and Dan Marsh three - and still trailing by 218 runs. With Ashley Noffke and Andrew Symonds taking three wickets each, Tasmania was dismissed in the first innings for 191, a deficit of 217 runs with skipper Jamie Cox top scoring with a defiant 88. In Adelaide, Greg Blewett and David Fitzgerald offered South Australia (SA) some hope of avoiding outright defeat by batting through the final session on day three against Western Australia (WA). But at 118 for one in its second innings at stumps, SA was still in deep trouble, needing another 176 runs on the final day to make WA bat again, with nine wickets in hand, after trailing by 294 on the first innings. Opener Fitzgerald, SA's top scorer in the first innings with 63, was unbeaten on 64 at the close of play, with skipper Blewett on 53. Earlier, WA's Murray Goodwin ensured his side was in the box seat with a marathon innings of 164 to help his team declare at 520 for nine in its first innings.
Langer's century puts Western Australia in command