Three-Test batsman Nic Maddinson has scored a century on Sheffield Shield debut for Victoria to guide the home side to 3-186 at tea on day one against Western Australia at the MCG.
Maddinson blasted two sixes and 13 fours on Friday to make it to 100 runs off 159 balls at tea, with Cameron White the new batsman at the crease on one. The opener survived a scare on 92 but his reprieve was the downfall of Glenn Maxwell.
In a bizarre turn of events, WA seamer Matthew Kelly dropped a sharp return chance off Maddinson, but the ball ricocheted off his hands back onto the stumps with non-striker Maxwell out of his crease.
Maxwell had batted impressively coming in up the order at No.4 but had to depart on 57 from 91 deliveries.
In the morning session, Victoria raced to 0-62 after stand-in skipper Travis Dean won his first Shield toss and elected to bat.
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But WA applied the brakes when Dean (16) and Will Pucovski (1) departed. Dean is filling in for regular captain Peter Handscomb, preferred in the Test XI at the expense of Mitch Marsh, who has returned to lead WA.
Marsh was expensive in his opening spell, conceding 25 runs from three overs, but tightened up to have the figures of 0-42 from eight overs. The visitors are without spinner Ashton Agar, who has been rested. “It’s been a long year of cricket for Ashton,” WA coach Adam Voges said. “He was playing in the UK, then he was travelling internationally and domestically for the last few months with the Australia squad. “It’s been a long time on the road and he just needs this week to freshen up and have some quality time at home.” The Vics are just over eight points clear at the top of the table heading into round six.
But their line-up has undergone a significant makeover with Aaron Finch, Peter Siddle, Marcus Harris and Handscomb with the Test team in Adelaide. Pucovski is back from an extended break taken to deal with a mental health issue, with Maddinson, Sam Harper, White and Matthew Short also included. Harper replaces first-choice wicketkeeper Seb Gotch, who is out with a fractured finger.