Victoria moves closer to Sheffield Shield final as Mitch Perry fires

Former Test quick Peter Siddle could find himself battling for a game should he return to Victoria after its young pace attack ended South Australia’s winning run in stunning fashion at the Junction Oval.

Victorian officials have confirmed they are in talks to lure 38-year-old Siddle back from Tasmania to mentor the group of rising stars and end his career where it started.

The talent of the group of quicks at coach Chris Rogers’ disposal was on show as Mitch Perry and company a ripped through the visitors in less than 60 overs for a second time to secure its third win on the trot and move clear into second place on the Shield table.

Perry claimed his maiden five-wicket haul to finish with career-best match figures of 8-120 as the Vics moved to second-spot on the table and within touching distance of a second-straight Shield final.

Perry and fellow 22-year-old seamer Fergus O’Neill, who claimed 4-28 and 2-3 before he limped from the field with an ankle injury early on day three, have emerged as two of the Shield’s most formidable bowlers since resumption of the competition earlier this month.

O’Neill moved into the top 10 Shield wicket-takers with his performance, while acting captain Will Sutherland sits in third after another impressive all-round game which included a stubborn 43 in a crucial second innings partnership with Short.

Perry said “some honest feedback” from Rogers and cricket director David Hussey had helped him return to his best form after he lost his spot in the side earlier in the season.

He said the absence of spearhead Scott Boland on national duties had been playing on his mind heading into the season and had affected his rhythm.

“I’ve tried to relax – I think I was putting a bit too much pressure on myself to start the season,” Perry said.

“We’ve got a real good core group of bowlers now, so we’ve got to put performances on the board in Premier Cricket, seconds and when you get the chance to play for Victoria … there’s guys knocking at the door.

“Your spot can get taken pretty quickly, but I think that’s good.”

Ladder leaders Western Australia maintained the upper hand after the third day of their clash against Tasmania in Hobart, with Cameron Bancroft impressing in the second innings ahead of a probable Test squad call-up with an unbeaten 50.

The Warriors had gained a first innings lead of 131 thanks to a century to keeper Josh Inglis, while Charlie Stobo took 3-45 as Tasmania were bowled out for 169.

Winless NSW threatened an upset at the Gabba when they had Queensland at 7-134 in reply to their first innings of 320, but skipper Jimmy Peirson took the Bulls to 8-260 just before the close of play on day two with his second century of the season.

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