Cricket

Harris


Victoria 9 for 445 dec (Harris 250*, Handscomb 48, Copeland 3-74) beat New South Wales 159 (Patterson 63, Tremain 5-47) & 179 (Larkin 53, Patterson 50, Boland 6-49) by an innings and 107 runs

Victoria moved a game clear at the top of the Sheffield Shield table by claiming the last New South Wales wicket for an innings and 107-run victory at the MCG, the ground’s first outright result in a first-class match since February 2017.

Scott Boland bowled Mickey Edwards with his last ball of the second over of day four to conclude the match, also handing the one-time Australian ODI paceman handsome innings figures of 6 for 49 and a match return of 8 for 84. However, the match award went unsurprisingly to the left-handed opener Marcus Harris, who was comfortably the difference between the teams in compiling an unbeaten 250 in the home side’s only innings.

That performance, at a time when Australia’s selectors are desperate for batsmen to show themselves worthy of selection at the highest level, will mean Harris can make a concerted case for his own inclusion in the team to face India, especially if he puts up more high scores in the remaining Shield rounds before the squad is selected for the first Test in Adelaide from December 6.

Another potential Test batsman, the NSW vice-captain Kurtis Patterson, contributed a double of 63 and 53, maintaining his extraordinary consistency but also a tendency to fall short of major scores – he has only five first-class centuries in 54 matches.

This match was the first at the MCG since considerable work by the ground staff to prepare pitches with a better balance between bat and ball, after all five fixtures resulted in draws last season. That tally included a dull draw in the Boxing Day Ashes Test, resulting in the surface being rated “poor” by the ICC, and leading to a pitch that is notably grassier and more lively for this season.



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