Victoria 289 (Harris 141, Copeland 5-74) and 219 (Pucovski 51, Abbott 4-82, Copeland 3-52) beat New South Wales 121 (Siddle 5-28, Pattinson 3-30) and 210 (Patterson 76, Pattinson 4-41, Boland 3-30) by 177 runs
Another shattering spell from James Pattinson delivered Victoria their fourth Sheffield Shield title in five summers with a day to spare at Junction Oval and presented a near undeniable case for the fast man to be a part of Australia’s Ashes squad later this year.
Set 388 for victory in nearly two days following a swift end to the Victorian second innings on the fourth morning, New South Wales rolled along to a highly promising 1 for 132 with Kurtis Patterson and Daniel Hughes well entrenched at the crease.
However, after Peter Siddle coaxed a return catch from Patterson to follow up his 5 for 28 in the first innings, Pattinson was recalled to the attack by his captain Travis Dean and responded by blasting out Hughes, Moises Henriques and Jack Edwards in quick succession to leave only mopping-up operations for the rest.
Pattinson’s match figures of 7 for 71 gave him 26 wickets at 18.92 for the Shield competition at a remarkable strike rate of 34.2 – he is now set to go to play for Nottinghamshire in the English County Championship – Victorian team-mate Siddle will be at Essex – with Australia’s selectors’ eyes peeled to put him into the Ashes touring party of 17.
On a Junction Oval surface that offered variable bounce and seam, under cloudy skies that afforded the bowlers assistance in getting the Dukes ball swinging, it always looked to be a day readymade for the Victorians to complete an outright win. They did, without too much fuss, and the Shield title complemented the limited-overs title won at the start of the season and the Big Bash League trophy scooped by Melbourne Renegades – all three teams coached by Andrew McDonald.
Trent Copeland swung the ball around in the morning air to defeat Siddle and Scott Boland either side of Pattinson’s hook shot to fine leg off Sean Abbott, meaning the Blues were soon commencing the fourth innings of the contest.
Nick Larkin and Hughes were given plenty of uncomfortable moments, culminating in Larkin dragging Pattinson onto the leg stump the ball after he had nearly been run out when sent back by his partner in pursuit of a quick single to get off strike and away from the Victorians’ fearsome spearhead.
Patterson, himself a likely Ashes tourist, seemed intent on playing with aggression, attacking anything outside the off stump and enjoying a helping of fortune, including a low chance spurned by Dean in the slips. However, Patterson also contributed plenty of cultured strokes, putting together a century stand with Hughes that seemed briefly to put the visitors in position from which they might have thought of chasing down the distant target.
Hughes had been uncomfortable against Jon Holland’s left-arm spin, bowled into the rough outside the off stump, but it was Siddle’s decision to move over the wicket to Patterson that drew a brief lapse from the batsman and a caught and bowled gleefully accepted by the paceman.
At the other end, Pattinson returned to coax an edge from Hughes that Cameron White held on the second attempt, and his celebration hinted at the rush of wickets to follow. Jason Sangha was highly unfortunate to be run-out backing up when a drive by the proactive Henriques deflected from Siddle’s hand onto the stumps, but Pattinson was entirely responsible for the two swift deliveries that found Henriques’ inside edge and then Edwards’ outside edge.
The remaining wickets fell steadily to Chris Tremain and Scott Boland, the last of them coming when Abbott chipped to mid-on and Pattinson claimed the final catch. It was the cue for celebrations, and no little number of Ashes deliberations.