3 for 322 (Harris 120, Dean 94) v South Australia
Openers Marcus Harris
and Travis Dean
gave Victoria the perfect start in their push to complete a hat-trick of Sheffield Shield titles, setting up a strong first day with the bat for the Bushrangers. Harris scored his second century of the Shield season and Dean fell just short of doing the same, but their 224-run opening stand put Victoria on the path to a hefty total against South Australia.
At stumps on the first day in Alice Springs, Victoria had moved along to 3 for 322, with Rob Quiney on 44 and Cameron White on 7. It brought an end to a tough day in the field for the Redbacks, who are searching for their first Shield title in more than two decades. However, they had brought some of the misery on themselves through a lacklustre fielding display, with both Harris and Dean given lives.
Harris was first dropped on 54 when he edged Joe Mennie to first slip, where Daniel Worrall put down a sitter; Harris had another let-off on 59 when a drive off Chadd Sayers skewed to backward point, where Jake Lehmann dropped a harder opportunity. In between those two misses, Callum Ferguson at gully also grassed a chance to give Dean a reprieve.
South Australia also missed a couple of run-out opportunities, and the Victorians made the Redbacks pay for their sloppy work, raising the second-highest opening stand of this Sheffield Shield summer. Harris brought up his hundred and in his first season for Victoria continued to build his reputation as a big-game player: in the 2014-15 final he had made 81 and 158* for Western Australia to be Man of the Match.
The partnership ended only when Dean was bowled by a well-flighted delivery from Adam Zampa for 94, and Harris fell in the next over for 120 when he drove at Sayers and was caught by Mennie at gully, but Rob Quiney and Aaron Finch continued to frustrate the Redbacks with a 72-run stand that came to an end when Finch was lbw to Sayers for 38. But at stumps, Victoria remained firmly in control of the contest.