Manou rescue mission derails Victoria
Graham Manou's magnificent escape plan helped South Australia ensure a genuine fight after the Bushrangers initially hijacked the Redbacks' first innings in Melbourne
2 for 9 trail South Australia
320 (Manou 105*, McDonald 4-69) by 311 runs
Andrew McDonald collected 4 for 69
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Graham Manou's magnificent escape plan helped South Australia ensure a genuine fight after the Bushrangers initially hijacked the Redbacks' first innings in Melbourne. Manou scored his third first-class century to push the score to a competitive 320 after a sub-200 total was beckoning when he came to the crease.
To add to Victoria's annoyance, they lost 2 for 9 in a four-over spell before stumps as Ryan Harris collected two wickets in two balls. He had Rob Quiney caught at third slip in the first over and the nightwatchman Peter Siddle caught-behind before Brad Hodge survived the hat-trick delivery to finish on 4 with Nick Jewell on 3.
The Bushrangers were desperate to defend their territory at the Junction Oval after the Police evicted them from the MCG - the ground was off limits as it was being prepared for a concert by Sting's band - and they sent South Australia in on a pitch expected to help the fast bowlers. Plenty of Redbacks made starts but, in an all-too-familiar trend, failed to capitalise as Andrew McDonald snared wickets and reined in the scoring.
South Australia lost 3 for 1 within eight balls spread either side of lunch and at 5 for 122 batting out most of the day seemed extremely unlikely. However, Manou showed the form that has him at the top of his state's run tally this season, bringing up his half-century with a six swept over midwicket off Bryce McGain and reaching triple-figures with another six crunched over long-on from McDonald.
Manou did not give a chance in his second century of the season, finishing unbeaten on 105 from 161 deliveries. He anchored a string of partnerships that frustrated the Victorians, especially the entertaining 65-run last-wicket stand with Paul Rofe (24) that came from just 39 balls.
McDonald finished with 4 for 69, ending the resistance when he had Rofe caught at slip. Shane Harwood battled to find consistency and had 1 for 84 from 19 overs, while at the other end of the economy spectrum Allan Wise collected 1 for 20 from 18. The Redbacks started confidently with Shane Deitz (30) and Matthew Elliott (34) initially handling the few demons in the pitch before the McDonald-inspired mini-collapse.
Elliott almost got a chilly reception when he whipped a six off his pads over deep backward square leg off McDonald early in the day. The ball flew flat and hard over the fence and landed on the roof of a Mr Frosty ice-cream van - a few centimetres lower and the ball would have come back to McDonald splattered with soft-serve and windscreen shards. By stumps it was Victoria's bowlers who would suffer a frosty reaction from their coaching staff after letting the Redbacks off the hook.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo