Victoria takes upper hand despite Sayers' heroics
CHADD Sayers and keeper Alex Carey have smashed Sheffield Shield records and milestones but Victoria - powered by James Pattinson - has pushed South Australia to the limits of desert endurance in Alice Springs.
Victoria is unbackable favourite to clinch a third straight title after posting 487 over two days of 40-degree heat.
Pattinson followed a record seventh-wicket 139-run stand in a final with Seb Gotch (52) to roll Redbacks rookie John Dalton (0) with pure pace before stumps.
Jake Weatherald (5) and Callum Ferguson (12) resume with SA 1-19 and 468 runs behind Victoria.
Sayers' (7-84) fifth five-wicket haul of the season rocketed the swing-king to 61 Shield wickets at 18 and 200 for SA.
Only Shaun Tait - who retired on Monday - and Colin "Funky" Miller have more wickets in a Shield season with 65 and 67 respectively.
"It was nice to get a few and the boys fought very hard. It is a great achievement to get 200 and would be good to chase down Shaun's record but we are in a Shield final so the focus is on that," said Sayers, whose exploits were watched by selection boss Trevor Hohns.
"We toiled hard but James and Seb batted well."
Carey accepted the five dismissals required to equal the season record of 58 held by Queenslanders Chris Hartley and Wade Seccombe.
Carey needs eight runs this innings to emulate Adam Gilchrist, Hartley and Matt Wade in recording a 50 dismissal, 500-run season double.
"His glovework this year has been outstanding. (He) is a professional who was always going to take his chance," said Sayers of Carey.
Carey's last catch of the innings to remove Jon Holland - one of four off Sayers - secured 58 dismissals and Sayers' 200th Shield wicket - the 10th South Australian to achieve the feat.
His amazing dive forward of second slip to get Chris Tremain off Sayers underlined why Hartley says the former Greater Western Sydney midfielder is the keeper to watch for a baggy green.
The Bushrangers would lose 4-3 following Pattinson's exit but the damage had been done. Travis Head's men must win to snare a first Shield in 21 years.
Sayers made the initial breakthrough on day two combining with Carey to claim Rob Quiney (48).
Cameron White fell for 17, driving Sayers uppishly to Jake Lehmann at cover. Daniel Worrall chipped in with the scalp of allrounder Dan Christian.
An eerie desert storm hit Traeger Park before stumps - adding to the feeling of isolation for two teams contesting the Holy Grail of domestic cricket.
State chief executives are in ongoing dialogue "to get the schedule right" and stage the Shield deciders at a recognised stadium before football takes over.
"There is work to get that Shield final in before the footy season. I would love to see the Shield final in the traditional season," said SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw.