Victoria go full throttle in Sheffield Shield tie

Published: Sunday, March 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Victoria declared early and played part-time spinners against Queensland in a desperate bid for outright victory in their rain-hit Sheffield Shield cricket match.

Victoria, needing maximum points to stay in contention for the final, declared their first innings at 204 for 4 - still 212 runs behind Queensland's first innings of 416 for 6 declared.

Trying to entice Queensland into setting a final-day run-chase, they then bowled part-time spinners Matthew Elliott, Graeme Rummans and Jason Arnberger in the last hour.

Queensland finished the third day's play, marred by six separate rain delays, 341 runs ahead on 129 for 4.

Rummans and Elliott were more successful than may have been envisaged with the latter taking 2-40 and his partner 1-31.

More rain was forecast for the final day and Queensland, who were awarded two points for winning the first innings, now have 36 points, putting them joint top with Western Australia.

In Hobart, a stunning 277-run unbeaten partnership from Michael Bevan and Michael Di Venuto gave Tasmania first-innings points on another rain-disrupted day against New South Wales.

Di Venuto with 157 and Bevan on 170 ended any chance New South Wales had of making the competition final as the home side declared at 401 for 2 in reply to New South Wales' 367 for 8 declared.

Play didn't begin until late in the afternoon and there were two rain breaks after Tasmania resumed at 252 for 2.

New South Wales were 14 for 0 in their second innings at stumps, having faced just eight overs.

Meanwhile, Western Australia will need a miracle from captain Justin Langer if they are to pull off an unlikely victory against South Australia in Perth.

Langer, who will join the Australian Test team in New Zealand this week for their three-match series, is the key to his team's slim hopes of chasing down 497 runs in the second innings.

Western Australia, having already dropped first-innings points to South Australia were 41 for 1 at stumps, need to score another 456 runs on the final day to win outright. Langer was not out on 22.

South Australia declared their second innings at 217 for 8, giving the home side at least 126 overs in which to get the runs needed.

The highlight of South Australia's second innings was a cameo by captain Darren Lehmann, who bludgeoned 47 runs off 36 balls, including nine fours.

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