Victoria move closer to Sheffield Shield final with dominant win inside three days
South Australia, who went down by 177 runs, are not out of the race for the final yet
Victoria 169 and 312 (Short 119, Johnson 6-87, Agar 2-76) beat South Australia 114 and 190 (Manenti 82, Drew 38, Perry 5-64, O'Neill 2-3, Holland 2-63) by 177 runs
Victoria claimed a thumping 177-run win over South Australia inside three days to move a step closer to a spot in next month's Sheffield Shield final.
South Australia had few answers with the bat in pursuit of an unlikely 368 to win, and were bowled out for 190 just after the scheduled tea break at Junction Oval on Wednesday. Mitchell Perry, the 22-year-old fast bowler, continued his consistent form with career-best figures of 5 for 64.
Fergus O'Neill (2 for 3) claimed two top-order wickets but it wasn't all good news for him, with the rookie quick forced from the field after delivering just 3.3 overs.
South Australia's hopes were extinguished to a large extent inside an hour at the crease after slipping to 27 for 4. The only serious resistance came from Daniel Drew (38) and Benjamin Manenti (82), who combined for a defiant 96-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Victoria captain Will Sutherland secured the key wicket of Drew, who had scored a double-century against leaders Western Australia last week, with a sharp catch taken at short mid-on by Campbell Kellaway.
Manenti again stated his case to be considered an allrounder with a crunching 82 off just 96 balls - a second half century in as many matches - before Perry removed him for his third wicket of the innings.
While the impact of other ongoing matches is yet to be determined, the win lifted Victoria into outright second with two rounds remaining. It was a second one-sided win for Victoria in a row under acting captain Sutherland.
While Perry enjoyed the spoils on the final day, the victory was set up by Matthew Short's batting in both innings. Short hit 70 in the first innings - the only half-century for either team in the first-innings exchanges - and followed that up with 119 in the second dig, his maiden Shield century.
Short's run-scoring was all the more meritorious on a challenging Junction Oval pitch, where 22 wickets fell during the first four sessions of the match.
The match also marked the return of veteran international Glenn Maxwell after a three-month absence from the game with a broken leg. Maxwell, who only returned to the game on the weekend in grade cricket, scored just five runs in the first innings and then a second-ball duck in the second innings.
Despite the heavy defeat, South Australia's hopes are still intact; they are one win in arrears of Victoria ahead of concluding matches against Queensland and New South Wales.