October 18, 2002

Unlikely trio bowl SA to outright win over Vics

ADELAIDE, Oct 18 AAP - A discarded Victorian spinner, a rookie who had taken just two previous first-class wickets and an occasional medium pacer today bowled South Australia to the first outright victory of the Pura Cup season, against Victoria at Adelaide Oval.

The Bushrangers were out for 303 in their second innings shortly before the scheduled final day tea break, giving SA a 208-run outright win after Victoria had taken first innings points.

Victoria, which trailed SA by 511 runs heading into its second innings, started today at 2-94 and never looked likely to save the game, losing four wickets in the opening session, and another four in the second session.

All-rounder Ian Harvey top-scored with an unbeaten 63 and Darren Berry made 52.

Ex-Victorian off-spinner John Davison, in his first match for SA, was the chief destroyer.

Having not made the Bushrangers' side in either form of the game last season, Davison showed he still had plenty to offer at first-class level, taking 4-107.

His wickets included the key scalps of Victorian openers Matthew Elliott (21) and Jason Arnberger (42) yesterday, as well as the prize wicket of Brad Hodge (22) today, the first three Bushrangers to fall.

Davison, 32, joined SA this season after failing to earn a place in the Victorian side since the 2000/01 Pura Cup final, which Victoria lost to Queensland.

Paceman Ryan Harris, who had played just two previous Pura Cup matches for his state and taken only two first-class wickets, finished today with 3-64.

And all-rounder Ben Johnson, who top-scored with 165 in SA's second innings, took the final three wickets of the match, finishing with 3-4 from just three overs after being introduced for the first time in the 100th over of Victoria's innings.

Johnson was named man of the match.

SA skipper Greg Blewett said he was pleased with the number of players who made vital contributions, particularly Davison and ex-NSW recruit Mark Higgs, who made a second-innings century, and all-rounder Michael Miller, who took seven first-innings wickets after not playing a game last year.

"It was just a great team effort, just about everyone did something," Blewett said.

"I'm particularly pleased with Davo, the first three wickets against his old side, I'm sure he would have been pretty rapt with that.

"We haven't had an off-spinner here for quite a few years, so he's certainly a handy recruit."

Victorian acting skipper Elliott resigned from the role after the loss.

Elliott, who was officially the team's vice captain under Shane Warne but would have led the side in most matches given Warne's commitments with the Australian team, handed over the reins to former skipper Berry for the rest of the season.

Elliott said he felt the captaincy affected his batting.

"It's certainly not a reflection of what's going on with the team, it's an exciting time for us with all the people we've got involved, it's just that I feel like I'm not putting my best playing foot forward," he said.