Victoria 8 for 280 (Pucovski 82, Gotch 63, Sayers 3-49) lead South Australia 260 (Head 67, Andrews 59, Tremain 3-38) by 20 runs

Will Pucovski returned to the runs as Victoria established a narrow first innings lead over South Australia on day two of the Sheffield Shield match at Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide.

Replying to a mediocre 260 from the bottom-placed Redbacks, the table leaders made hard work of it for much of the second day, after the captain Travis Dean's grim run of scores continued when he played around a straight delivery from the fit-again Chadd Sayers to be lbw early on.

Pucovski, who has faced his own struggles for runs since he was picked in the Australian Test squad against Sri Lanka without making his debut, played patiently with support from Seb Gotch and Matt Short to keep the visitors in the middle throughout the day.

Sayers was persistent and economical for the hosts, receiving some belated reward when he found a way past Chris Tremain and Jon Holland with consecutive balls in the day's closing overs.