Handscomb's century sets up Victoria's victory push
South Australia negotiated a tricky late period on the third evening without loss
South Australia 230 and 0 for 38 need 387 more runs to beat Victoria 310 and 7 for 334 dec (Handscomb 132, Jordan Buckingham 4-78)
South Australia required 387 more runs to pull off an unlikely Sheffield Shield win after reaching 0 for 38 at stumps on day three against Victoria at Karen Rolton Oval.
Captain Peter Handscomb struck a wonderful 132 before declaring the visitors' innings closed at 7 for 344, setting the Redbacks a victory target of 425.
Jake Weatherald, sent packing second ball of SA's first innings, batted positively in the evening session, reaching 28 off 38 balls.
Opening partner Henry Hunt will resume on 9, the Redbacks surviving a testing 12-over spell with all 10 wickets in hand.
"It's going to be a grind tomorrow - an absolute grind," Handscomb said. "It's definitely flattened out. Day one was really hard and since then it's gotten flatter and flatter. It's going to be pretty simple cricket - be patient and hope we can bowl 10 good balls.
"If that means we get it done in the last over, we get it done in the last over. Hoping tomorrow it starts to play a few tricks and maybe a few divots come into play."
After earning a 90-run first-innings lead, Victoria's assault on the home side's attack in the second dig was underpinned by Handscomb's 18th first-class ton.
"I feel good, the set-up feels good and I'm trying to continue on from last year," said Handscomb, pressing his claims for higher honours, having played the last of his 16 Tests almost four years ago against India. "You can have one good season but you've got to be able to back it up again and really force your hand for [Test] selection."
The captain crunched 14 fours and a six in his classy knock before holing out to a superb catch in the deep from Jake Lehmann while chasing quick runs.
Handscomb received tremendous middle-order support throughout the day from first-innings centurion Will Sutherland (40), wicketkeeper Sam Harper (37) and ex-Test batter Nic Maddinson (30), who plundered three huge sixes.
Seamer Jordan Buckingham, playing just his second Shield match, was the pick of the bowlers for South Australia.