Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
Victoria 199 & 1 for 75 (Harris 41*) lead New South Wales 151 (Patterson 48, Boland 4-34) by 123 runs
Four wickets from Scott Boland has helped put Victoria in a commanding position at the halfway mark of an absorbing Sheffield Shield clash with New South Wales on a bowler-friendly surface at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.
New South Wales were bundled out for 151 on day two. Victoria opener Marcus Harris then continued to push his Ashes case by reaching 41 not out at stumps as Victoria built a lead of 123 with nine second-innings wickets intact and two days to play.
The Blues started the day well with skipper Kurtis Patterson and nightwatchman Harry Conway frustrating the visitors in a 46-run stand before Conway eventually fell having faced 87 balls for his 20. But the Blues' innings stalled as Jason Sangha fell for a 15-ball duck, brilliantly caught in the gully by Jono Merlo off Will Sutherland.
Boland then bagged the prized scalp of Patterson on 48, as he has done in previous encounters, angling in from around the wicket and nipping away to scratch the outside edge. The Blues' tail offered very little resistance with Jack Edwards left stranded on 29 not out as the last five wickets fell for just 19 runs. Mitchell Perry and Jon Holland picked up two apiece while Boland claimed the last two to finish with 4 for 34.
Victoria suffered a loss early in their second innings with James Seymour superbly caught down the leg side by Peter Nevill of Trent Copeland. But Harris and Peter Handscomb then saw Victoria to stumps with an unbeaten 53-run stand. Harris was patient in his 41 not out and did have a slice of luck, nicking a ball between first and second slip off Nathan Lyon. But he also played some fluent drives on a surface that had been difficult to score on. Handscomb finished on 26 not out giving Victoria a chance to build a match-winning lead on day three.