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Victoria 106 and 373 for 8 (Maddinson 109, Harris 76, Handscomb 71, Carlisle 3-63) need 69 more runs to beat Tasmania 240 and 307

Victoria coach Chris Rogers was pinning his hopes on a Will Sutherland masterclass after his side suffered a costly late collapse in their Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart.

Nic Maddinson was the hero for Victoria on Sunday, cracking 109 off 145 balls and combining with Marcus Harris for a 178-run opening stand.

But a collapse of 4 for 25 late in the day thrust Tasmania back into the box seat. Victoria’s hopes rest in the hands of Sutherland, Todd Murphy and No.11 Peter Siddle.

Paceman Iain Carlisle (3-63) helped spark Tasmania’s comeback late on Sunday, snaring the scalps of Handscomb, Mitchell Perry and Fergus O’Neill in the fading light.

Sutherland was still lucky to be there after being dropped by Beau Webster on 7. Webster reached across his team-mate at slip in a bid to take the one-handed catch, but it went down.

“We’re still in it. It feels like a long way to go, but there’s still hope,” Rogers said. “You never know what can happen.

“Will Sutherland is still there. He can score and score quickly. If he can get some support down the other end, you never know what can happen.”

Victoria entered the match second on the table and knowing a loss could tumble them to as low as fourth with just one round remaining.

But a win over Tasmania would leave them in the prime position to secure a spot in the final – and possibly hosting rights – ahead of their final-round clash with Western Australia at Junction Oval.

Tasmania can secure their spot in the decider with victory, with hosting rights also within their reach.

A whopping 17 wickets fell on the opening day and 13 on the second at Blundstone Arena. But the pitch looked as flat as a road for most of day three as Maddinson and Harris put the Tasmanian attack to the sword. Maddinson’s ton, his third in consecutive Shield matches, came off just 112 balls, with 14 fours and a six.

His departure sparked a chaotic period in which Pucovski retired hurt after being struck by a Meredith bouncer as Victoria lost 3 for 33.

Pucovski went into the match having suffered at least 11 previous concussions in his career, and it remains to be seen what impact his latest head knock will have on his playing future.

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