Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne
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South Australia 2 for 102 (Hunt 62*, Tremain 1-9) trail Victoria 6 for 616 dec (Maddinson 224, Pucovski 123, Harris 116) by 514 runs
Victoria's top three batsmen posted centuries as they piled up a huge first innings score to take complete command on day two against South Australia at the Junction Oval.
Nic Maddinson reached his maiden first-class double-century and Will Pucovski posted his fourth Sheffield Shield century as Victoria made the highest score by any Shield team since 2015 before declaring in the middle session. It was also just the 12th time in Shield history that the top three batsmen made centuries in the same innings after Marcus Harris posted 116 on day one.
South Australia debutant Henry Hunt and skipper Travis Head had to weather an unrelenting Victorian attack in the afternoon after Jake Weatherald and Jake Lehmann both fell cheaply. Hunt reached his maiden Shield half-century and remained unbeaten on 62 to avoid further damage before stumps.
Maddinson, who began day two on 195, had to wait until the sixth over of the day to find the fifth run needed for his maiden first-class double-century. He cruised to 224 and Victoria reached 1 for 413 before Maddinson finally fell edging an attempted cut off Kane Richardson.
Peter Handscomb came in and made a brisk 30 before skying one straight up trying to hit Tom Andrews against the spin over long-on.
Pucovski went about his business calmly and despite getting bogged in the nineties, and nearly running out Aaron Finch for a duck, he eventually sneaked to his fourth century in just 20 Shield innings.
"It was a good test early," Pucovski said after the day's play. "Obviously, I was quite slow at the start so to sort of mentally get through that and not get frustrated and stick to my process and obviously come out with a positive outcome, in the end, was a big positive.
"Starting [on that pitch] is quite tough. It's quite slow and it's hard to score freely if you bowl in the right spots and get it reversing a bit. It's just a patience thing."
Finch then cut loose after lunch as Victoria pressed for a declaration. He smashed six fours and four sixes to reach 57 in just 44 balls before falling caught and bowled to Andrews. But he suffered back spasms during his innings and was unable to field for the remainder of the day as a precaution.
Pucovski ran himself out for 123 taking on Weatherald at mid-off. But Glenn Maxwell picked up from where Finch left off clubbing four fours and two sixes in a 30-ball 43 to allow Victoria to declare 30 minutes before tea on 6 for 616. It was the first time any Shield side had passed 600 since February 2017 and the highest score since Western Australia made 633 against South Australia in 2015.
The Redbacks' response started disastrously. After spending 150 overs in the field, Weatherald nicked the first ball of the innings from James Pattinson to Maxwell in the gully. The visitors should have been 2 for 0, but Handscomb dropped Jake Lehmann at second slip off Pattinson in the third over. The Victorian quick bowled two hostile spells down breeze either side of tea.
Lehmann battled to 8 off 40 balls before he was caught behind off the inside edge attempting to drive Chris Tremain. Hunt batted beautifully and looked unflustered against the high-quality attack. His defence was sound and his hands soft as he batted comfortably through the last two-and-a-half hours of the day.
Head was fortunate that a leading-edge ballooned safely over Scott Boland's head before he had scored. He had to curb his free-flowing instincts as Victoria stacked his preferred scoring region square on the off-side. But he reached stumps unbeaten on 27 from 80 balls.
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"I'm just annoyed the game is dead," Victoria captain Handscomb said, as the game descended to a farce on lifeless Junction Oval pitch
Nic Maddinson double-century, Will Pucovski hundred help Victoria pile up 616
Victoria had South Australia two-down early in reply before Henry Hunt's debut half-century avoided any further loss before stumps