Victoria claim third straight Sheffield Shield title

first_imgBy `Brydon CoverdaleVICTORIA have completed a hat-trick of Sheffield Shield titles for the first time in the state’s history, wrapping up a third consecutive triumph by playing out a draw with South Australia in Alice Springs.The Bushrangers were in control for virtually the whole match and on the final day set the Redbacks an unrealistic 524 for victory. Play was called off late in the afternoon with South Australia on 6 for 236.It was the second straight year that South Australia had reached the final and hoped to break a two-decade Sheffield Shield drought, only to be thwarted by Victoria in the decider both times.Last year, South Australia had enjoyed the significant advantage of hosting and thus required only a draw to secure the title, but Victoria had managed to pull off a victory in the final at Glenelg.Victoria’s three-peat was all the more remarkable for having come under three different coaches: Greg Shipperd steered them to the 2014-15 title, David Saker had the reins in 2015-16, and Andrew McDonald was in charge this year. They also had to overcome the challenge of playing all three finals outside the state – in 2014-15 they had “hosted” Western Australia in the final at Bellerive Oval in Hobart.It was just the third time in the past fifty years that a state had won a hat-trick of Shield titles: Queensland did so from 2000 to 2002 and Western Australia from 1987 to 1989. Prior to that, only New South Wales had ever managed as many as three consecutive titles: they had claimed a remarkable nine straight Shield titles from 1954 to 1962 and had also achieved six in succession from 1902 to 1907.The fifth and final day began with Victoria on 6 for 254, already with a more than sufficient lead of 454. But needing only to draw to win the title the Bushrangers batted on until they were dismissed for 323. That meant a fanciful target of 524 for the Redbacks, who clearly could not win. But a Victorian victory seemed possible when James Pattinson struck twice in the first three overs.However, South Australia captain Travis Head scored a defiant century to hold off the victory push, finishing unbeaten on 137 when he and Victoria’s stand-in leader, Cameron White, agreed to call off play. Fawad Ahmed – one of only three men to play in all three of Victoria’s hat-trick of final triumphs along with Rob Quiney and Daniel Christian – finished with 3 for 81.Victoria spinner Jon Holland was named player-of-the-match for his first-innings demolition of the Redbacks, in which he claimed 7 for 82. Holland also picked up one wicket in the second innings, which meant he joined Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, Stuart MacGill, Bill O’Reilly and Tony Lock as the only spinners to claim 50 wickets in a Shield season (not counting Colin Miller, who combined spin and pace). (ESPN Cricinfo)Most consecutive Shield titles9 – NSW (1954-1962)6 – NSW (1902-1907)3 – WA (1987-1989)3 – Qld (2000-2002)3 – Vic (2015-2017)last_img

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