Wickets tumble on Maxwell's return to first-class cricket
Wes Agar took five wickets for South Australia after the visitors had to fly in a back-up wicketkeeper in the morning
South Australia 5 for 75 trail Victoria 169 (Short 70, Agar 5-54) by 94 runs
Junction Oval witnessed the fall of 15 wickets, the red ball return of Glenn Maxwell, and a reinforcement arriving after the start on a chaotic day of Sheffield Shield action as Victoria hosted South Australia in a potentially crucial match.
Despite the steady flow of wickets, honours ended fairly even after day one with South Australia 5 for 75 in response to Victoria's 169.
A tricky pitch that was largely green but also worn-looking in patches greeted the teams as Victoria elected to bat.
South Australia's problems began prior to the commencement, with wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen ruled out with illness during the morning.
A hastily-arranged flight booking led to uncapped wicketkeeper Harry Matthias being brought over from Adelaide, with the replacement taking to the field after an hour's play and 12th man Thomas Kelly donning the gloves in the interim.
Short-form specialist Maxwell lined up for a first Shield match since 2019, but his return to the crease lasted just nine balls.
Maxwell, who scored a half century in grade cricket on the weekend after a three-month absence with a broken leg, was adjudged lbw off the bowling of Jordan Buckingham in what appeared a questionable decision.
Matt Short made what was comfortably the day's top score with his aggressive approach yielding 70 off just 69 balls, including 10 boundaries.
Wes Agar knocked over openers Travis Dean (34) and the in-form Marcus Harris (15) before running through the tail for a return of 5-54 - his second best figures in first-class cricket.
Remarkably, a 31-run partnership for the second wicket between Dean and Ashley Chandrasinghe proved the highest of the day as Victoria were bowled out inside two sessions.
In reply, South Australia faced a similar struggle and Nathan McSweeney (23) top-scored as the Redbacks grafted at less than two runs per over. Victoria seamer Mitch Perry was the chief destroyer with 3 for 28.
The two teams share second place in a four-way charge for one available berth in the final with two further rounds remaining.