Fawad Ahmed of the Bushrangers celebrates with teammates after claiming the wicket of Tom Cooper of the Redbacks during the Sheffield Shield final.
Fawad Ahmed of the Bushrangers celebrates with teammates after claiming the wicket of Tom Cooper of the Redbacks during the Sheffield Shield final. Brendon Thorne

Victorians grind out draw to claim Shield three-peat

CAMERON White's Victoria has secured a treasured, historic Sheffield Shield title three-peat at South Australia's expense in a supreme show of power at Alice Springs.

The Bushrangers' 31st title and maiden hat-trick of triumphs came 2255km from the MCG in an age where Shield deciders are both an afterthought and casualty of the football season.

Redbacks skipper Travis Head (137) rebounded from a first innings duck to grind an undefeated, fifth Shield ton that delayed the champion's champagne celebrations until play was called off at 4.40pm.

Head's 86-run, sixth wicket stand with Alex Carey (45) - before bowled by man of the match Jon Holland - sealed a respectable draw. Joe Mennie was not out on five.

Victoria's title has come under three coaches - former Test allrounder Andrew McDonald, David Saker and Greg Shipperd.

South Australia was set 524 runs in 69 overs to break its 21-year Shield title drought but was never in the hunt.

Former Test No.3 Rob Quiney, allrounder Dan Christian and leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed are the only Victorians to feature across the three-peat. Quiney and skipper White were savouring five Shield titles each with the MacDonnell Ranges rather than Yarra as a backdrop.

Opener Jake Weatherald (2) and No.3 Callum Ferguson (2) exited before lunch as a fresh and firing James Pattinson (2/45) savaged the weary Redbacks. National chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns has enjoyed an armchair view of 17-Test speedster Pattinson's return to fitness and rhythm in the Red Centre after recovering from backs stress fractures

Fawad turned the screws after lunch, bowling opener John Dalton (32) with a ball that fizzed from outside leg. Jake Lehmann (1) left the gate open advancing to the former refugee and was stumped by keeper Seb Gotch.

Alex Carey offered late resistance but it was all in vein.

Former Test batsman Ferguson's rollercoaster season ended fending off marauding Pattinson to Fawad at silly mid-on. The Redbacks lost last year's decider to the Bushrangers at Glenelg and were on the backfoot from the moment skipper Head lost the toss.

The Bushrangers silverware was set up by a first innings ton from Marcus Harris (120) who featured in a record, final 224-run opening stand with Travis Dean (94). Left-arm spinner Jon Holland's 7/82 decisively restricted the Redbacks' to 287 in reply to Victoria's first innings 487.

Chadd Sayers sent down an incredible 61.2 overs mainly in searing conditions for the match but enjoyed little luck in Victoria's second innings. Sayers finished the season as the leading competition wickettaker with 62 at 19 - three short of Shaun Tait's 65 in 2004-05 and Colin Miller's all time high 67 in 1997-98 for Tasmania.

Redbacks keeper Alex Carey's 59 dismissals snared the Shield season record from Queensland stalwarts Chris Hartley and Wade Seccombe. Carey also etched a rare double of 500 runs and 50 dismissals in a season.

News Corp Australia


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