Beginning the day in a strong position, South Australia were unable to claim the final three first innings Victorian wickets before lunch, instead having to watch as Sam Harris worked his way to a maiden first-class century.
When the visitors did get their second turn with the bat, early wickets derailed their pursuit of a maiden 2020/21 Shield triumph. The Redbacks will resume on the final day with the scoreboard showing them ahead by 110 runs, but with just five wickets in the sheds. Henry Hunt will resume on 73* after a brilliant individual performance in the final session of the day.
Sam Harper resumed just short of a half-century on day three, and when the tenth wicket fell shortly after the lunch break, the 24-year-old had raised his bat in celebration of a breakthrough century, his first at Sheffield Shield level. Well supported by the lower order in Mitchell Perry (35), Todd Murphy (34) and Jon Holland (13), Harper crunched 14 boundaries in his unbeaten knock of 106 from 167 deliveries.
Delicately poised overnight, the match turned towards the Victorians thanks to the performance from Harper. The Redbacks would have been confident of taking a first innings lead as they drifted to sleep last night, but Harper instead ensured his side would take a 32-run lead, and all the momentum, into the second dig.
A positive spin
The Redbacks will be frustrated with their inability to cheaply dismiss the Victorian tail, but in sport there are always positives and today Sam Kerber showed that he can be a valuable contributor with the ball. Following a half-century in the first innings, Kerber finished his debut bowling stint at Shield level with figures of 3/92 from 29.3 overs as he took the final two wickets of the innings.
In conjunction with Daniel Worrall, 3/86 from 25 overs, Kerber looked consistently dangerous and often bowled without luck. While the day did not play out the way South Australia wanted, there were still plenty of encouraging signs for the future in the likes of Sam Kerber.
A run of outs
Faced with a small deficient as their second innings commenced, the Redbacks needed a strong start with the bat to work themselves back into the contest. Perry and Boland had other ideas however, taking the first two wickets for just five runs. Weatherald was the first to go when he padded up to a looping inswinger from Perry, and Scott’s lean run with the blade continued when he edged the fifth delivery he faced behind the wicket.
South Australia then turned to their captain, and one of the leading Sheffield Shield run-scorers of the season, Travis Head. The fluent stroke maker looked to be on early, but Holland brought about his downfall for 16, trapping the left-hander LBW and claiming his sixth wicket of the game.
When vice-captain Alex Carey fell just after tea, the Redbacks were 4/52 and in danger of collapsing to an early defeat. Opener Henry Hunt and number six Harry Nielsen then came together and began the rescue mission before the latter was bowled by Sutherland to end a 77-run stand. At stumps, South Australia have a lead of 110 with one day to play.
05 April 2021