Victoria set up a final-day run chase for England, holding an overall lead of 310 in their three-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.
Victoria reached 278 for six at the close following some lusty hitting by tailenders Clint McKay and Jayde Herrick against the innocuous offerings of Andrew Strauss (1-51 from four overs) and Eoin Morgan (0-37 off three overs).
McKay’s unbeaten 58 from 27 deliveries was his highest first-class score and Herrick smashed 40 from 19 balls in his debut innings for Victoria.
The pair added 81 in 32 deliveries of big hitting with 12 fours and five sixes between them.
England are trailing Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shahzad and Tim Bresnan to replace the injured Stuart Broad for the third Ashes Test in Perth on Thursday. However, all three went wicketless yesterday as -medium-pacer Paul Collingwood claimed 3-19 and spinners Monty Panesar (2-83) and Strauss shared the wickets.
Panesar dismissed opener Aaron Finch caught at cover for 45 and Ryan Carters was bowled by Collingwood for 68, leaving the home side at 147 for two.
Collingwood chipped in again 16 runs later to have Matt Wade (1) caught at cover.
John Hastings (7) became Panesar’s second victim and next over Alex Keath was caught behind off a slow Collingwood bouncer.
Victoria lost 3-13 in a middle--order collapse.
First-innings century-maker Michael Hill (4) was out leg-before-wicket to skipper Strauss, who claimed only his third wicket in 205 first-class matches.
England had declared earlier yesterday on their lunch score of 184-2 on a slow-paced pitch in reply to Victoria’s 216-2 declared.
Strauss top-scored with a hard-hitting 66 before becoming left-arm spinner Jon Holland’s second victim. Holland took 2-53 from 12 overs.
Ian Bell was unbeaten on 60 with Paul Collingwood on 29.
Bell, who hit 192 in last month’s game against Australia A in Hobart, has made 500 first-class runs at an average of 125.00 in six matches on the Ashes tour, trailing opener Alastair Cook’s 696 at 99.42.
England’s regular Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who intended to play this game as a fieldsman with back-up wicketkeeper Steven Davies taking the gloves, was forced to get behind the stumps when Davies suffered a bruised hand.
Cook left the field with a back problem, but returned in the final session.