Hat-trick gives Bulls chance to save match
An incredible hat-trick to spinner Mitch Swepson forced Victoria into a declaration, keeping Queensland's hopes alive heading in to day three of their Sheffield Shield clash at the MCG.
The Bushrangers pulled the pin at 9-300d to force the Bulls into facing two overs in fading light on Wednesday evening following a 3-5 collapse orchestrated by Swepson.
The 26-year-old leg-spinner claimed three lbw wickets across two overs to turn the match on its head.
Victoria looked comfortable at 6-291 following half centuries to Peter Handscomb and Jake Fraser-McGurk before Swepson removed debutant Will Sutherland with the last ball of his 25th over.
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The leg spinner then removed James Pattinson (42) with the first ball of his 26th over and completed his hat-trick by trapping Peter Siddle plum in front for a first-ball duck.
"I had a catch dropped off me a few overs earlier and was standing at point near Marnus (Labuschagne) just after and said to him that it felt like I just couldn't get a break at the moment," Swepson said last night.
"It took everyone by surprise, me included. I did celebrate Sids' wicket pretty well and Marnus said afterwards to Nathan McSweeny in the huddle that he thought I had carried on a bit. Even hen hadn't made the connection it was hat-trick.
"I have never taken one before in my career - juniors, seniors, anyone. it was a great feeling once it sunk in."
Much will still be required of the Bulls top order on Thursday to salvage a result with Victoria holding a 114-run first innings lead.
The hosts looked set to capitulate in a similar fashion to Queensland's 183 after a Swepson run-out and Blake Edwards' maiden wicket had the Bushrangers reeling at 2-37.
But Handscomb's 51-run stand with Aaron Finch (30) was enough to steady the ship before posting triple figures for the fourth wicket with Fraser-McGurk (51).
Handscomb's dismissal on 92 left the Bushrangers at 6-231 but the Bulls failed to close out their tail with Pattinson adding valuable runs before his dimissal.
The Test hopeful then vented his frustration with a brutal new-ball over in drizzling rain to Bryce Street, who was dismissed lbw by Peter Siddle a minute later to close out the day's play.
Swepson backed his teammates with the bat to salvage the match today.
"The game is still there for us if we bat well I reckon," he said.