LIVE: Redbacks resume with mountain to climb
Oct. 12, 2019
Victoria remain well on top as Shield clash heads into day three at Junction Oval
Day two report
Will Pucovski joined the Junction Oval run-fest dominated by Nic Maddinson's first career double-century on Friday as Victoria assumed a nigh-on unlosable position in the first match of their Marsh Sheffield Shield title defence.
James Pattinson sprinted off in disbelieving celebrations when he had Jake Weatherald caught in the slips from the first ball of the South Australian innings to add insult to their marathon 150-over spell in the field, in which they took only six wickets as the hosts piled up 616 first-innings runs before declaring.
A draw appears the Redbacks' only escape route, meaning their winless streak looks certain to extend to 14 games as they reached 2-102 at stumps on day two, trailing by 514 runs.
Recently-axed Test batsman Travis Head will have the perfect opportunity to push his case for a recall on Saturday after he finished day two unbeaten on 27 alongside debutant opener Henry Hunt (62 not out), who has looked assured in his maiden first-class innings.
Maddinson, who had been 195 overnight, pushed on to reach a mammoth 224 in a 328-ball knock that featured five sixes, sharing in a 193-run second-wicket partnership with Pucovski (123).
The prodigiously-talented youngster's fourth first-class century ensured Victoria's top three all reached triple-figures, after Marcus Harris begun his Shield campaign with a brisk 116 on Thursday.
Along with incumbent Test opener Harris, both Pucovski and Maddinson are sure to feature in discussions amongst the national selection panel, whose chief Trevor Hohns has kept a close eye on proceedings over the past two days.
Maddinson, who played three Tests in 2016-17, has hit four tons in six games for his adopted state and is now averaging 98 since being cut from NSW's contract list.
Pucovski, meanwhile, only turned 21 in February and is regarded as the country's most promising young batsman. He has already shown he's in the selectors' sights after earning a call-up to Australia's Test squad last summer.
The shaggy-haired right-hander batted with grace throughout his 226-ball innings, hardly hitting a ball in the air nor offering a chance on the easy-paced pitch before he was eventually run out by Weatherald after lunch.
"It was a good test early, (the pitch) was quite slow early so to be able to mentally get through that and not get frustrated ... was a big positive," said Pucovski.
"(National selection) is out of my control. It's not anything that I decide.
"It's obviously been a goal of mine since I was five years old but it doesn't really worry me too much, I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it.
"As long as we keep winning games and we keep enjoying it, I think that's all that matters."
Aaron Finch (57 off 44) and Glenn Maxwell (43 off 30) prepared for Australia’s upcoming Gilette T20 series against Sri Lanka by smashing six sixes between them as the Vics closed their innings before tea boasting their highest first-class total in a decade.
Finch did not take to the field for SA's innings after suffering back spasms while batting. He's set to be reassessed on Saturday morning.
Left-arm spinner Tom Andrews finished as the only multiple wicket taker with 2-130 from his 34 overs, while Australia limited-overs spinner Adam Zampa (0-138 off 27 overs) had little joy as he went at more than five runs per over.
Pattinson could have had a second wicket in a lively opening spell, but skipper Peter Handscomb dropped Jake Lehmann when he had yet to score.
It cost his side little, with Chris Tremain removing the left-hander for eight after the tea break.
The visitors sorely missed their three leading bowlers Dan Worrall, Chadd Sayers and Joe Mennie, all of whom are on the mend from injury.
Victoria XI: Marcus Harris, Nic Maddinson, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb (c), Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Sam Harper (wk), James Pattinson, Chris Tremain, Scott Boland, Jon Holland.
South Australia XI: Jake Weatherald, Henry Hunt, Jake Lehmann, Travis Head (c), Tom Cooper, Alex Carey (wk), Tom Andrews, Nick Winter, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Luke Robins.