White and Wade steer Victoria closer to Sheffield Shield
Victoria 8 for 423 (Hussey 113, Rogers 105, White 84*, Wade 70, Symonds 3-48) v Queensland
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Victoria's already strong hold on the Sheffield Shield increased as Cameron White and Matthew Wade half-centuries combined with more rain. Wet weather hurt Queensland again, delaying the start and limiting the third day to 49 overs, but they also contributed to their own situation with four dropped catches.
The 135-run partnership for the eighth wicket between White and Wade built Victoria's first-innings total towards 8 for 423 and also stole more time from the visitors, who must win outright to take the trophy. Their aim is becoming increasingly unlikely, especially with some sloppy fielding slowing them down in the cool weather.
The Bulls needed quick wickets when the hosts resumed at 6 for 281 after the washed out second day, but White and Wade dealt with the tricky conditions and tight seam bowling led by James Hopes. A long delay before tea threatened an early stumps, but the players returned in sunshine after 6pm for eight overs, with the Bushrangers adding 26 and losing two wickets.
Queensland's short-pitched attack contributed to the exits of Wade and Damien Wright in consecutive balls from Ben Laughlin. At stumps White was unbeaten on 84 after the crucial stand with Wade, who followed back-to-back centuries in the last games of the regular season with 70.
Hopes showed his courage and skill during a marathon 17-over spell from the start of the day, which began at midday when the run-ups were deemed dry, until halfway through the middle session. Unfortunately for Hopes, the lasting memory of his work will be his grimacing as the batsmen's numerous mistakes ended up in edges through the cordon and fieldsmen's fingers.
Shane Watson was the main culprit, missing both White and Wade either side of the first rain break after lunch. He spilled a reasonably comfortable chance at second slip off Wade and then grassed a tough one low-down from White's push forward.
White was on 46 and had added one run since he was reprieved by a diving Lee Carseldine at cover, a chance which increased the level of Hopes' frustration on the way to returning 2 for 95. The legspinner Daniel Doran also went one-handed to a caught-and-bowled offering from Wade on 56 when it could have been accepted with two. A Ben Cutting no-ball prevented the bowled of Clint McKay in the last over before stumps.
White overcame his early slips to move into some better form and found two boundaries in an over from Doran, including a strong drive down the ground. His fifty, which came off 137 balls, was brought up with a cut single and he scored more freely after the milestone.
Wade provided excellent help and was strong on the off side, particularly off the back foot, and late in the day pulled a six off Laughlin. Queensland's Chris Hartley and Graham Manou, from South Australia, remain Wade's main rivals for the vacant spot as Brad Haddin's understudy, so his surge to 545 runs for the season was particularly timely.
However, his departure was ugly when he hit the stumps in his follow-through while aiming for another six from a short delivery. Next ball Wright missed a full inswinger and Laughlin had 2 for 71 to join the list led by Symonds' 3 for 48.
In a match already riddled with interruptions there was another caused by the flocks of pigeons that were excited by the extra food around the centre square. Before tea the umpire Bruce Oxenford called a groundsman to request some seed be spread in the outfield to allow the game to continue without extra distraction or mess. It didn't really work and the Queenslanders were irritated further by Victoria's steady pursuit of a big first-innings total that will almost certainly lead to them raising the trophy on Tuesday.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo