New South Wales 7 for 304 (Henriques 141) lead Victoria 190 (Short 94, Conway 6-39) by 114 runs
Moises Henriques has pressed further claims for Australia's vacant Test No. 5 role with a third century of the Sheffield Shield summer to put New South Wales firmly in control against Victoria at Bankstown Oval.
Henriques made a classy 141 in a 219-run partnership alongside Peter Nevill, who made 74, to help New South Wales build a significant lead after Harry Conway took career-best figures of 6 for 39 to bowl Victoria out for 190.
Henriques showed why he was a candidate to return to Australia's middle order for the South Africa Test tour prior to its cancellation and why he remains in the frame for the Ashes next summer. It was his third century of the Shield summer and his fifth in the last two seasons that has yielded 1061 runs at an average of 58.94.
New South Wales had slumped to 4 for 54 in reply to Victoria's 190. James Pattinson knocked over Daniel Hughes and Kurtis Pattinson while Nick Larkin was run out by a brilliant direct hit from Jake Fraser-McGurk at point. When Daniel Solway was adjudged lbw to Scott Boland a first-innings lead looked a long way away for the Blues.
But Henriques stamped his class on the match with the help of Nevill. He cruised to a half-century, bringing it up in style with a lofted six of Jon Holland over long-off. He continued to score boundaries consistently throughout the day and reached his century off just 131 runs in the last over before tea. Nevill ground his way to a patient half-century providing the perfect foil for Henriques.
The new ball brought a change of fortune for Victoria. Henriques finally fell chopping on against Scott Boland after Pattinson caused him some trouble. Nevill was pinned lbw by Mitch Perry late in the day and he also claimed Sean Abbott before bad light stopped play with the Blues 7 for 304.
Earlier, Matt Short fell six runs short of a second first-class century as Conway picked his sixth five-wicket haul. Conway claimed wo wickets in the third over of the morning to leave Victoria 9 for 175 with Short on 84 with just Holland for company to try and reach a century.
Short farmed to strike to reach 94 before gloving a ball off Conway down the leg side to end the innings.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne