Western Australia v Victoria, Sheffield Shield, Perth, 4th day March 6, 2010

Victoria outlast Ronchi to hold first place

Cricinfo staff

Victoria 199 and 378 beat Western Australia 274 and 249 (Ronchi 115, McDonald 4-66) by 54 runs

Victoria turned a first-innings loss into a 54-run outright success over Western Australia to regain top spot, but they had to wait until Luke Ronchi finally caved in. Ronchi, the big-hitting No. 8, stepped up with 115 but his batting team-mates had already made the assignment too hard and they were dismissed for 249.

The Warriors had fallen to 7 for 102 before lunch and Ronchi was one of the few people who didn't think the cause was lost. He collected 18 fours and a six in his third century of the season and gained help from Brad Knowles, who stuck around for 36 in a 108-run stand. Knowles was caught at cover by a diving Andrew McDonald and Ronchi soon followed as the coach Tom Moody's last home game in charge ended with another defeat.

McDonald's 4 for 66 and three wickets to Damien Wright, the Man of the Match, allowed Victoria to recapture their three-point advantage over Queensland, who they will face in the final on March 17. Western Australia will have to beat the Bulls next week to escape the wooden spoon while Victoria play Tasmania, with the two games determining who will host the decider.

Wright began the final-day damage by removing Liam Davis lbw for 34 and bowling Michael Swart three deliveries later as the Warriors lost 4 for 12. McDonald entered to watch Mitchell Marsh hit to cover and followed up next ball by trapping Luke Pomersbach in front.

That left Western Australia at 6 for 82 and McDonald chipped in again to knock over Nathan Coulter-Nile, the nightwatchman, when he pulled to short midwicket on 31. After lunch Ronchi found top form but it was not enough.