Bushrangers hold on for draw
Victoria have held on to record a draw with Queensland at the MCG in their rain-affected Sheffield Shield encounter.
WHAT HAPPENED: Points: Vic 0, Qld 2
Bushrangers skipper Cameron White won the toss and sent the visitors in on a wicket tinged with green. His decision appeared vindicated when the Bulls meandered to 5-89 just before tea on the first, but a 137-run stand between James Hopes and Chris Hartley restored parity.
Only 19 overs were available on day two because of rain. In that time the Bulls advanced their score from 5-226 overnight to 9-287. Damien Wright picked up three of the four wickets to fall to give him five for the innings.
Rain delayed the start of play to 2.00pm on day three and the Bulls were quickly cleaned up for 300. The Vics' pursuit for first innings points lacked conviction. They were thereabouts at 3-110 but their prospects slumped with the departure of White, Matthew Wade and David Hussey in the space of five overs. They limped over the follow-on mark at nine wickets down and White immediately declared to put the onus on his rival captain Hopes to set a target.
With 110 overs available on the final day, the Bulls used 55 of them to make 2-190 when Hopes declared, setting the Vics 329 to win. The Bushrangers were never interested. They survived a mid-innings hiccup to make it safely to 6-142 at the finish.
THE HERO: David Hussey
It wasn't a vintage match for Hussey, but he top-scored for the Bushrangers in both innings. Forced to curb his attacking instincts, the 33-year-old showed his younger team-mates how to adapt to difficult circumstances. A special mention to the old-stager Wright for his first-innings five-for.
THE VILLAIN: The elements
Only 19 overs were possible on Saturday and play didn't start until 2.00pm local time on Sunday because of relentless rain during the previous 24 hours. The weather forced the captains to improvise and the Vics never got settled.
DEFINING MOMENT: The Hopes-Hartley partnership
The Bulls were down for the count at 5-89 on the opening day, but James Hopes and Chris Hartley got them back on their feet with a 139-run stand that turned a potential rout into a contest.
Damien Wright's 5-62 was his 13th five-wicket haul in first-class cricket
Chris Hartley's first-innings 80 was his 16th first-class half-century
James Hopes' first-innings 77 was his 16th first-class half-century
THE UPSHOT: Vics going nowhere
The Bushrangers remain on eight points but they've slipped to fifth place on the Shield table behind the Redbacks. The Bulls have jumped to the top of the Shield table on 14 points level with the Tigers.
WHERE TO NOW: Redbacks back-to-back
The Bushrangers have two Ryobi Cup matches to complete against the resurgent Redbacks in Geelong on Saturday 4 December and on Wednesday the 15th at Adelaide Oval before their next Shield match against the same opponents in Adelaide starting on Friday the 17th.
WHO SAID WHAT: Greg Shipperd
"I'm annoyed and disappointed. I think the cloak of previous achievements is gone, has disappeared. This team is a work in progress and has got a lot to learn about fighting cricket, full stop. We've prided ourselves on our hunger, but certainly the last two games we've been short of the mark. I think opposition teams are really after our blood at the moment and our younger players are not standing up to that pressure. They're young players, they haven't learned to fashion their game and tailor their game to meet the challenges of opposition attacks at this stage."