Victoria v South Australia, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne, 3rd day February 1, 2009

McDonald and Rogers set Victoria on track

Cricinfo staff

Victoria 400 and 5 for 229 (Rogers 93, Jewell 60, Christian 4-47) lead South Australia 9 for 348 dec (Manou 124, Ferguson 81, McDonald 6-68) by 281 runs
Points table

Andrew McDonald, who played in Australia's most recent Test, was in the wickets at the MCG © Getty Images

Andrew McDonald did his chances of a South African trip no harm with a six-wicket haul that helped Victoria claim first-innings points despite Graham Manou's first century of the summer. At the close, Victoria had extended their lead to 281 thanks largely to 93 from another Test aspirant, the opener Chris Rogers.

Rogers and Nick Jewell, who made 60 from 74 balls, increased Victoria's advantage quickly, although Daniel Christian's four wickets stifled their progress and at the close McDonald was on 7 with Adam Crosthwaite yet to score. Both sides were hoping to push for a final-day win after Manou's declaration at 9 for 348 made it clear South Africa were only interested in an outright victory.

Manou's 124 was virtually a lone hand for the Redbacks after they lost Callum Ferguson for 81 in the second over of the day, having added two to his overnight total. Manou then combined with Matthew Weeks for a 70-run stand, of which Weeks contributed 14, as the last-placed South Australia tried to force themselves into a position to take some points from the game.

But McDonald, Victoria's stand-in captain, led from the front and collected all five South Australian wickets to fall on the third day. He finished with 6 for 88 and it was a timely performance for a man who played Australia's most recent Test and will be considered for next month's tour of South Africa.

It was the first five-wicket haul of the season for McDonald, who picked up a pair of lbws with his stump-to-stump line and was well backed by the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who caught Mark Cleary while standing up to the stumps. A win to Victoria would tighten their grip on a home final, although there is a chance of rain and storms on Monday.