Victoria v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, MCG, 3rd day November 19, 2009

Victoria on track after McDonald fires

Victoria 246 and 0 for 61 need another 198 runs to beat Western Australia 277 and 227 (Towers 49, McDonald 3-22, McGain 3-52)

Andrew McDonald has seemingly slipped off the radar of the Test selectors but his frugal, smothering bowling helped Victoria back into their Sheffield Shield match at the MCG. At stumps on the third day they were on track for victory against Western Australia, who had set the hosts 259 to win.

By the close, Victoria had reduced that target to 198 and had reached 0 for 61 with Nick Jewell on 38 and Chris Rogers on 20. It set the scene for a fascinating final day on a pitch that didn't look especially helpful for the bowlers but on which only two men had passed fifty during the match.

Having taken first-innings points, the Warriors threatened to get away from Victoria as Luke Towers and Wes Robinson built a 71-run opening partnership. However, two men who have played Test cricket over the past year, McDonald and Bryce McGain, changed the match through the middle of Western Australia's innings.

The Warriors lost 3 for 4 in a seven-over period shortly after lunch and Victoria's superb catching was a feature of the day. Marcus North fell for 20 when he droved hard at McGain and saw his outside edge rocket off the hand of the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade only to be snapped up one-handed by the first slip Cameron White.

Towers (49) pulled Clint McKay to midwicket, where Chris Rogers made a terrific take running back with the flight and looking into the sun. But arguably the sharpest effort - or at least on a par with White's - came when Luke Ronchi (22) drove back towards the bowler McDonald and Nick Jewell, at short catching mid-on, dived onto the pitch to snare the chance in his left hand.

The Warriors were trying to force runs wherever they could off McDonald but he gave them few opportunities. His unfailing stump-to-stump line, combined with a constricting legside field, brought him 3 for 22 off 19 overs, including the key wicket of the first-innings centurion Adam Voges, who chipped a return catch for 10.

A handy last-wicket partnership of 37 between Michael Hogan and Brett Dorey boosted Western Australia to 227 before McGain sneaked one through Hogan (25) to finish with 3 for 52 and seven wickets for the match. John Hastings picked up the first two wickets, including Shaun Marsh, who has had a match to forget and was caught at slip for 2 to add to his first-innings 1.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo