The under-manned Victoria gave another example of why they are the team to beat for the Sheffield Shield with an innings-and-two-run win over New South Wales. The Blues were dismissed for 218 late on the third afternoon and were unable to make the hosts bat again after they gained a lead of 220 on first innings.
With Shane Harwood and Dirk Nannes injured, things were looking bright for New South Wales and the openers Phil Jaques and Greg Mail put on 81, but there was trouble after Mail edged John Hastings behind on 41. Peter Forrest (20) departed to Brad Hodge before Clint McKay picked up Jaques for 49 and Dominic Thornely in the same over, reducing them to 4 for 114.
In his next over McKay, who returned 4 for 56, dismissed Usman Khawaja and the damage could not be stopped, despite 25 from Beau Casson and Aaron Bird's 29. Hastings enjoyed a strong finish to his Sheffield Shield debut with 5 for 61 and ended the match by having Bird caught behind attempting a cut. Victoria were impressive throughout the day, which began with McKay (47) and Harwood (28 not out) adding 68 for the final wicket as they finished on 447.
The Bushrangers have sealed hosting rights for the final with two games remaining. Queensland's hold on second is under threat from Western Australia and Tasmania, who are playing in Hobart.