Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
Victoria 6 for 283 (Maddinson 128, Seymour 105) vs New South Wales
Nic Maddinson looks set to be part of Australia's extended Ashes squad and declared he wants to play Test cricket again after scoring a superb century against New South Wales, while Victoria team-mate James Seymour made his maiden first-class hundred on an entertaining opening day at the MCG.
New South Wales lost Trent Copeland to a lower leg injury in just the fifth over the day after winning the toss and electing to bowl on a pitch with a thick matting of grass. Copeland pulled up lame as he attempted to begin his run-up and immediately left the field. He was sent for scans and did not return leaving the Blues a bowler down after they left out Harry Conway in preference of an extra batter. Coach Phil Jaques confirmed after play that Copeland had done some damage to his inner ankle but he might try and bowl in the second innings if he can reduce the swelling.
Maddinson and Seymour made them pay with a 191-run partnership for the third wicket. Maddinson again stood out on a surface that had plenty of sideways movement and some steep bounce at times. Following on from his first innings 87 in difficult batting conditions at Drummoyne Oval last week, he made his 14th first-class century and his sixth Shield hundred for Victoria with an innings full of fluent stroke-play as well as some intelligent rotation of strike.
He was equally proficient against pace and spin and producing a stunning hook shot for six to go with 14 fours. Since moving from New South Wales in 2018 Maddinson has made six centuries and 10 half-centuries in 39 first-class innings at an average of 58.34. He played for Australia A in each of the two summers against England Lions and India and looks set to do so again next month.
"I'm playing Shield cricket because I want to play Test cricket again," Maddinson said post play. "That's the motivation for sure."
Maddinson was pleased with his performance, particularly in the difficult conditions. "It was about just trying to wear them down and spend enough time out there," he said. "It was a little bit similar last week the wicket was a little bit tricky and tough to score on but if you hung in there you can kind of accumulate runs and get going that way."
Maddinson's innings completely belied the surface given the challenges his partner had. Seymour fought exceptionally hard for his first Shield century. He was dropped on 60 off Nathan Lyon, with Jack Edwards spilling a dolly at slip, and was fortunate to survive two very close lbw shouts when twice not offering a shot. He was hit in the head twice and had a top edge just evade the gloves of Peter Nevill.
But after all that he brought up three figures off 208 deliveries to warm applause from his team-mates and the small MCG crowd. He was out shortly after for 105 to Lyon who was finally rewarded for some excellent bowling. Maddinson looked set to bat out the day but finally fell in the shadows of stumps, gifting Lyon a sharp caught and bowled.
Outside of the two century-makers, the rest of Victoria's top order were well contained on a surface that gave the batters plenty of headaches. Marcus Harris was out for 1, caught at third slip off a brute of a delivery from Liam Hatcher, with the shoulder of the bat literally broken by a ball that leapt off a length.
Peter Handscomb looked fluent in his 27 before being pinned lbw by a Sean Abbott delivery that nipped back sharply off the seam. Hatcher returned with the second new ball to castle Matt Short while Sam Harper holed out to point. James Pattinson ducked into a bouncer late in the day and was hit on the back of the head but was fine to continue and reached stumps alongside Will Sutherland with the game well poised.