Puc puts Vics in box seat against Blues

WILL Pucovski has posted his first Sheffield Shield ton in over three years yesterday to put Victoria in the box seat against New South Wales at the SCG. The top order prodigy peeled off a patient 131 (302) as his side built its 202-run first innings lead on day three.

Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb (114) combined with Pucovski for 200 third-wicket runs after opener Nic Maddinson struck 108 on the previous day. Their efforts saw the visitors’ total hit 6-454, at which point Handscomb saw fit to declare and put late-day pressure on the Blues.

It proved a shrewd decision, as Test bowler Scott Boland made inroads with 2-19 before rain halted play with around an hour left in the day. New South Wales went into the sheds at 3-40, still 162 runs in arrears and in danger of an innings defeat.

Young opener Sam Konstas resumed play at the crease alongside Blues captain Moises Henriques on day four, though the latter became Boland’s third victim within just 10 deliveries. A win for Victoria would solidify its spot in the top two with only two regular season rounds left to play.

Meanwhile, ladder leader Tasmania has declared at the start of day four of its clash against Western Australia at Blundstone Arena, setting the defending champion a mammoth 450 runs for victory. The Tigers turned around an 88-run first innings deficit yesterday to post 8-537.

Caleb Jewell put the Tigers’ batting lineup on his back, striking 227 in the monster total. He was ably supported by the likes of Beau Webster (100), Charlie Wakim (72), and Bradley Hope (54*) as the Tigers scored at a tick under four runs per over.

After claiming four wickets in the first innings, Joel Paris (3-76) again proved the pick of WA’s bowlers as they began to fall behind in the game. The Warriors’ title defence may also be in trouble if things don’t turn around, with Tasmania and Victoria leading the way for finals berths.

Much like in the Marsh One-Day Cup, the last two rounds will prove decisive. A likely top-of-the-table clash looms at the start of March as Tasmania and Victoria lock horns, before the Vics turn around to take on Western Australia – potentially for a spot in this season’s decider.

In the only completed match of this week’s Sheffield Shield triple-header, Queensland defeated South Australia by seven wickets. It was carnage in the first two days at Adelaide Oval as bowlers has the ball talking, but the Bulls pulled through to chase down 206 on day three.

Jack Clayton (54) and Ben McDermott (46) finished unbeaten in what was Marnus Labuschagne‘s First Class captaincy debut. The International star posted 45 in the decisive fourth innings to help steer his side to victory. He also top-scored with 38 in Queensland’s first dig of 159.

The meagre total was still enough for a 27-run first innings lead, after the Redbacks managed just 132 having chosen to bat at the toss. The hosts found themselves in deep trouble at 3-0 then, and suffered a 7-41 collapse while setting up the 232-run total they failed to defend.

Queensland put that kind of match context behind it to secure a much-needed victory on the road, though the Bulls still sit fifth. They could well play spoiler in the final two rounds with fixtures against Western Australia and New South Wales to come.


Stumps, Day 3 @ SCG

Victoria won the toss & elected to bowl.

1ST INNINGS: New South Wales 10-252 (86.5)
Jack Edwards 99 (166), Matthew Gilkes 51 (137), Blake Nikitaras 29 (55)
Will Sutherland 5-51 (17), Scott Boland 3-47 (20.5), Todd Murphy 1-47 (20)

2ND INNINGS: Victoria 6d-454 (141.5)
Will Pucovski 131 (302), Peter Handscomb 114 (226), Nic Maddinson 108 (136)
Nathan Lyon 5-153 (52), Chris Tremain 1-60 (24), Liam Hatcher 0-106 (25)

Victoria led by 202 runs.

3RD INNINGS: New South Wales 3-40 (22.5)
Sam Konstas 24* (65), Moises Henriques 9* (21)
Scott Boland 2-19 (8), Will Suthlerland 1-8 (4)

New South Wales trails by 162 runs with 7 wickets remaining.

Caleb Jewell raises the bat | Image Credit: Getty Images

Stumps, Day 3 @ Blundstone Arena

Western Australia won the toss & elected to bowl.

1ST INNINGS: Tasmania 10-183 (49.0)
Bradley Hope 63 (93), Jordan Silk 55 (58), Kieran Elliott 21 (57)
Joel Paris 4-48 (13), Cameron Gannon 3-49 (8), Corey Rocchiccioli 2-24 (8)

2ND INNINGS: Western Australia 10-271 (89.3)
Jayden Goodwin 85 (185), Joel Paris 40* (71), Josh Philippe 31 (46)
Beau Webster 3-30 (15.3), Riley Meredith 3-59 (20), Kieran Elliott 2-58 (18)

Western Australia led by 88 runs.

3RD INNINGS: Tasmania 8-537 (135.0)
Caleb Jewell 227 (319), Beau Webster 100 (175), Charlie Wakim 71 (121)
Joel Paris 3-76 (25), Charlie Stobo 2-84 (28), Corey Rocchiccioli 2-140 (39)

Tasmania leads by 449 runs with 2 wickets remaining.

Player of the Match Mark Steketee | Image Credit: Getty Images

Match Completed @ Adelaide Oval

RESULT: Queensland def. South Australia by 7 wickets.
POTM: Mark Steketee (Queensland)

South Australia won the toss & elected to bat.

1ST INNINGS: South Australia 10-132 (40.3)
Jake Lehmann 52 (93), Alex Carey 49 (55), Wes Agar 9 (14)
Mark Steketee 3-50 (9), Michael Neser 2-18 (11.3), Gurinder Sandhu 2-21 (7)

2ND INNINGS: Queensland 10-159 (50.5)
Marnus Labuschagne 38 (112), Ben McDermott 26 (36), Mark Steketee 23* (27)
Nathan McAndrew 3-25 (9.5), Brendan Doggett 3-41 (14), Jordan Buckingham 3-58 (16)

Queensland led by 27 runs.

3RD INNINGS: South Australia 10-232 (72.0)
Alex Carey 90 (116), Jake Lehmann 58 (114), Kyle Brazell 25 (78)
Mark Steketee 3-39 (12), Michael Neser 3-51 (20), Xavier Bartlett 2-41 (12)

South Australia led by 205 runs.

4TH INNINGS: Queensland 3-206 (63.3)
Jack Clayton 54* (133), Ben McDermott 46* (57), Marnus Labuschagne 45 (97)
Jordan Buckingham 2-39 (14), Nathan McAndrew 1-26 (14), Brendan Doggett 0-54 (13)

Queensland won by 7 wickets.

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