South Australia v Victoria, Sheffield Shield, final, Adelaide, 2nd day March 27, 2016

Dean, Handscomb put Victoria in sight of first-innings lead

Victoria 4 for 269 (Dean 111, Handscomb 79*, Worrall 3-51) trail South Australia 340 (Ross 72, Weatherald 66, Carey 50, Tremain 3-73, Holland 3-86) by 71 runs

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Back in October, Travis Dean was the talk of Australian cricket, as only the second man after Arthur Morris to make dual centuries on his state debut. As Victoria sought to squeeze South Australia, Dean joined another select group by becoming the fourth batsman to cap his first season with a hundred in the Sheffield Shield final.

Justin Langer, Phillip Hughes and Jordan Silk are the others, and their efforts all contributed to victories. Dean helped the Bushrangers take a giant stride towards doing likewise, setting the platform for what may yet become a mighty first-innings total in reply to the Redbacks' reasonable, but now eminently reachable 340.

SA took the second new ball with four overs remaining and Daniel Worrall, the day's most outstanding bowler, soon curled a perfect inswinger through the defences of Matthew Wade. Nightwatchman Scott Boland survived numerous uncomfortable moments before the close, including a missed chance by Sam Raphael behind point, as another vocal Glenelg Oval crowd of 2,548 rode every delivery.

Aided by a fluent Peter Handscomb, Dean absorbed plenty of pressure on a cool and overcast day that lent itself almost perfectly to seam and swing bowling. His technique stood up to more or less everything Chadd Sayers, Joe Mennie and Daniel Worrall hurled at him, and it was not until the final hour that Elliot Opie was able to coax him into an edge.

Dean's occupation thwarted a bowling attack that had carried much before them this season, and highlighted the trouble with choosing four seamers on a pitch that has offered some movement but is also drying into something where a spinner can prosper. SA's captain Travis Head was left to bowl his offbreaks a little more than he might have preferred, with Adam Zampa in India and Tom Andrews, the left-arm spinner, missing out on the final XI.

The final two South Australian wickets had added only 15 on resumption, giving Sayers and company the chance to defend a greater tally than many they had successfully followed up on over the course of the season. Rob Quiney was able to get off to a swift start as several Sayers deliveries swerved towards his hip. But after those early boundaries, it was a challenging time for batsmen.

Quiney succumbed when he guided Worrall low to Raphael at gully, and Marcus Stoinis was beaten first ball. Plenty of questions were asked by the bowlers, and Dean needed all his technical skill to answer them. He achieved one small victory by prompting Worrall to try a short-pitched attack, but Stoinis was unable to endure, judged by umpire Paul Wilson to have gloved a bouncer to Alex Carey behind the stumps.

Handscomb's beginning was somewhat skittish, and he survived one vehement lbw appeal from Sayers. But he showed an inclination to get the scoreboard moving more regularly, and eased the pressure on Dean by putting some back onto SA's seamers. Gradually, some of the Redbacks' earlier discipline wavered, and Dean was able to pick off a few more loose balls.

The partnership gathered momentum after tea, as SA became increasingly fretful for a wicket. Words were exchanged between Handscomb and Head when SA's captain fielded off his bowling and fired a throw back towards the stumps, which the batsman swatted away to the boundary by way of self-preservation. The Redbacks appealed for obstructing the field, and after some consultation between the umpires, were turned down.

Dean's well-deserved century arrived soon after, not only making some Shield final history, but also breaking a recent sequence of lean scores - 9, 11, 1, 4 and 0 before this innings. An emotional celebration was follow by further occupation, but on 111, Opie was able to find a crack in the wall to break the stand at 140. That wicket gave SA an opening, and the loss of Wade before the close left the match delicately balanced once more.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • subhasish on March 27, 2016, 15:32 GMT

    Selectors should pick peter handscomb for Sri Lanka tour he is from

  • xxxxx on March 27, 2016, 12:26 GMT

    Pleased to see plenty of excellent competitive cricket as well as that highly politically incorrect attribute of passion in this match. As Redbac says, any result is still possible and anyone suggesting the scrapping of the final should have their head examined.

  • Peter on March 27, 2016, 12:08 GMT

    Redbacks should have played a specialist spinner - they are paying for the monotony of their bowling attack. Prediction: Vic win by a mile.

    Dean looks like one for the test team.

  • Jon on March 27, 2016, 11:51 GMT

    @11KGM...three days left: plenty of time for a result. Any number of scenarios can happen. Vics might get a lead of a hundredby halfway through Day three. SA could collapse and leave the Vics just a hundred or so to win. That would be the doom-mongering SA perennial loser view. On the other hand, SA might bat for four sessions, make 400 and leave Victoria 300 to get in 120 overs on a wearing pitch. Don't forget: it's a five day test match. All sorts of permutations are possible with three days to play.

  • Kirk on March 27, 2016, 11:10 GMT

    Sadly got a draw written all over it. Shouldnt be the home team wins in a draw

  • Jon on March 27, 2016, 9:32 GMT

    Big V opener Travis Dean weathered the Redback seamers for a century that stamped his class in the final, until fellow tyro Opie found the edge late to prevent him going on to craft something match-winning. The Victorians batted more circumspectly for a lead of some substance, given they will bat last. South Australia took four wickets, just enough to keep the contest finely balanced, Worrall the star with 3-51. This is cricket as it should be played, the contest testing temperament. No upper or middle order batsmen has failed to reach double figures by stumps on Day Two. Any result is still possible in a match being played before an appreciative crowd. Play more Big Bash double-headers, if we must, so hit and hope can't make the Shield Final extinct. Kids should be watching this match. Surely the Shield could be worked back into January. The final should be played before football kicks off. Go Redbacks!

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