Beginning the second innings 364 runs behind the visitors, South Australia saw out 160 overs to force Peter Handscomb's Victoria into conceding a draw on the final day at ACH Group Stadium. Travis Head was the hero for the Redbacks, passing 150 for the second time in as many fixtures to guide his side to safety.
It went down to the wire in Glenelg as Victorian quick Scott Boland refused to relent, claiming six wickets in the Redbacks second dig to send a shiver through the dressing room. In the end however, the combined efforts of Head, Hunt 80 (278), Nielsen 43 (113), Scott 61 (162) and Worrall 17* (55) were enough to secure the draw for the home side.
Despite winning the toss on day one, South Australia were forced into a corner early following a poor display with the bat beneath overcast skies. Hunt fought hard for a half-century at the top of the order and Wes Agar belted a quick-fire 41 late in the day, but the Redbacks total of 200 was never going to be enough against a Victorian side just beginning their Shield season after an extended quarantine.
Few would have guessed exactly how below-par it would turn out to be however, as Victoria piled on the runs, and the history, in their first and only innings of the encounter. The second day at Glenelg will live long in the memory as Victorian openers Will Pucovski and Marcus Harris compiled the highest partnership in 125 years of Shield cricket, occupying the crease for every moment of the day’s play.
The first wicket of the innings would not fall until 486 runs were reflected on the scoreboard, when Harris finally succumbed for 239 (399). Pucovski would finish unbeaten on 255, as the only other wickets to fall were that of Handscomb and Maddinson in the pursuit of quick runs.
A post-lunch declaration on day three then thrust the South Australian line-up back into the spotlight, asking them to see out five sessions of play with bat in hand. Thanks to the positive nature of Head’s glorious performance, the Redbacks managed to obtain the draw not only through time at the crease, but by passing the Victorian total in the final session of the contest.
When Nielsen became Boland’s fifth in the opening over after tea, the excitement and energy emanating from the Victorians was palpable, but Scott again showed maturity coming in at number seven to see out all but the final overs of the day's play. The knock of 61 is Scott’s highest in first-class cricket and comes hot on the heels of his match-saving 40* against Tasmania last week.
The Redbacks return to ACH Group Stadium on Sunday for a meeting with Queensland in Marsh Sheffield Shield fourth round action. Queensland are coming off a nail-biting one wicket loss to NSW in their most recent outing, following a win over Tasmania in the opening round. The clash will be the final hit-out for both sides in the opening Shield salvo, with international and Big Bash cricket on the immediate horizon following the coming fixtures.
02 November 2020