Test opener Chris Rogers played a determined and unbeaten knock of 96 as Victoria claimed a lead of 58 with nine second-innings wickets in hand after day three of their Sheffield Shield clash with NSW.
NSW were bowled out at stumps on day two for 353, a first-innings advantage of 117, and the Bushrangers fought back in strong fashion to reach 1-175 on Friday at the MCG.
Unfortunately only 59.4 overs were bowled for the day. Play was officially called off at 5.58pm, with more than two hours of play lost.
Rain meant only 27 minutes of play were possible in the post-lunch session and players left the field at 4.55pm after just over an hour of play in the evening session because of bad light.
Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon failed to get a breakthrough in the Victorian second innings, taking 0-44 off 17 overs.
Lyon is facing competition from uncapped Victoria leggie Fawad Ahmed for an Ashes spot, although Ahmed was unconvincing in the Blues’ first innings with 1-91.
Elsewhere, Western Australia’s Ashes hopeful Mitchell Johnson was unlucky to have three catches dropped off his bowling as South Australia edged towards victory in their clash at the WACA Ground.
The Warriors will enter the final day at 2-53, chasing 319 for victory, with Cameron Bancroft unbeaten on 16.
Redbacks seamer Trent Lawford ensured it would be an uphill battle for WA when he snared the scalps of Marcus North (37) and night watchman Jason Behrendorff (0) in the dying overs of the day.
Johnson had two catches dropped off his bowling during the opening two days, and he was left to rue his luck when another three catches were grassed on Friday.
He finished with figures of 3-88 to go with 2-74 in the first innings.
In Brisbane, half centuries to Ed Cowan and Jordan Silk late on Friday have taken Tasmania to a commanding 234-run lead ahead of the final day of their match with Queensland at Allan Border Field.
In his last chance to impress selectors before the Gabba Test Match, George Bailey (9 not out) was with Ed Cowan (56no) as the Tigers moved to a healthy 2-130 at stumps.
Silk (51) and Cowan added 91 runs to the Tasmanian lead after tea to take session honours before Queensland captain James Hopes had Silk removed LBW.
Hopes had also dismissed opener Mark Cosgrove (11) in the same fashion before the break.
Test bowler Ryan Harris was unsuccessful with the ball on Friday afternoon, finishing the day with 0-31 from 10 overs.
Meanwhile, England are worried their plans for the first Test have been thrown out of whack by two successive rained-out days in Hobart against Australia A.
Star players Graeme Swann, Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad haven’t played a first-class match since August.
Several others haven’t had the chance to get anything meaningful out of the tour matches in Perth and now the one in progress against Australia A.
After two abandoned days at Bellerive, the scoreboard still reads England 0-318.