Boland's 'heroics propel' Victoria into pole position for Sheffield Shield final
Boland's spell has bamboozled WA [Twitter]
Victoria's must-win final-round Marsh Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in Perth witnessed the triumphant return of pacer Scott Boland, who only arrived from the Test tour of India on Monday.
The right-arm quick's fiery performance saw him pick up four wickets, leading the charge for a hungry-looking Victoria attack that bowled out the usually free-scoring WA batters for just 122 off 61 overs.
In reply, Victoria confidently advanced to 71/2 at stumps, putting them in the box seat to reach the final should they win in Perth. The one bonus point they collected by bowling WA out proved to be the crucial factor that bridged the 0.36 gap to Queensland in second place after they only managed to pick up 0.5 points on day one.
For WA, opener Marcus Harris is batting on 48 alongside Campbell Kellaway, who is unbeaten on 3. For the visitors, interim captain Will Sutherland started the rot with wickets at the top of the order, ending with 3-33, complementing Boland's impressive figures of 4-29 from 15 overs.
WA, having already secured top spot and hosting rights for the final, were without their rested strike bowlers Joel Paris and Matt Kelly, while Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis have left for Australia ODI duties in India, thereby further denting their chances.
Victoria's road to the final, however, is not a walk in the park, as they need to better Queensland's result in Tasmania or, in the event of achieving the same result, must overhaul their rivals on bonus points.