Victoria v Queensland, Pura Cup, Melbourne, 4th day November 14, 2003

Love breaks records as match ends in tame draw

Victoria 9 for 381 dec and 2 for 208 (Hodge 111*, Elliott 79) drew with Queensland 7 for 605 7 dec (Love 300*, Hopes 97, Perren 95, Seccombe 57

Martin Love acknowledges the crowd on reaching 200 ... but he was far from finished
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Martin Love became the first player to score a triple-century for Queensland, smashing an unbeaten 300 as the match against Victoria at Melbourne ended in a tame draw - and both captains expressed concern with the flat track at Melbourne's Junction Oval.

The pitch yielded 1194 runs for only 18 wickets, and Love, Queensland's captain who smacked 300 not out, was less than impressed. "It needs to have a bit more in it for the bowlers," he said. "It's certainly weighted in favour of the batters, but even from a batting point of view it's still hard work. The ball doesn't come onto the bat, it's a bit of variable bounce, you really have to spend a lot of time at the crease to score your runs." Junction Oval has yielded 30 three-figure individual scores in 26 first-class games, including five 200s and now Love's 300.

But it will be wholly forgettable for team-mate Stuart Law, who was fined 25 per cent of his match fee. Law's fine is understood to be $800, after he pleaded guilty at a post-game hearing for making an audible obscenity soon after his dismissal for 5 on the third day.

Queensland gained two first-innings points after declaring at 7 for 605, and Victoria batted out the rest of the day, with Brad Hodge making 111 and Matthew Elliott 79 in their 2 for 208.

Victoria coach David Hookes added he hoped the pitch had more life when his side hosted Western Australia next week. "It would be extremely disappointing for us if we had another bland draw next week," he told reporters, "and therefore our first two home games were draws, regardless of where the two points go."

Queensland declared one ball after Love reached his triple century, with a single off a cover drive. "It's just relief I got there - if I was on 298, we were still declaring at the end of that over," Love said. It was his highest first-class score and broke Peter Burge's 40-year record of 283 as the highest score for the state.

Love scored the first triple century in the Pura Cup since Dean Jones's 324 not out for Victoria against South Australia in 1994-95. But it was also the slowest Cup triple ton, with his 610 minute vigil surpassing the 561 minutes South Australian Jack Badcock took in 1935-36.

Love knows this innings will not be enough to force his way back into the Test team, but chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns would have come away from watching this game impressed with his concentration. "If you bat for a long time you show the selectors you can concentrate for long periods and I think that's what is required at Test cricket," Love said. Apart from the Man of the Match award, Love also won the special Spirit of Anzac Medal, struck because this game started on Remembrance Day.

Meanwhile, Victoria will test injured allrounder Jon Moss on Saturday morning ahead of Sunday's one-dayer against the Bulls at the MCG. Moss is in doubt with a groin injury he suffered while batting two days ago. Queensland's Ashley Noffke and batsman Lee Carseldine will miss the match with back injuries.