South Australia captain Travis Head has taken another step towards Test cricket with his first Sheffield Shield ton of the summer.
Head dominated day one of the replay of last year's Shield final against Victoria, scoring 130 at the MCG as the Redbacks went to stumps at 5-360.
Victoria won the toss and after a solid start from SA, had them faltering at 2-84 and then 4-133.
But after opener Jake Weatherald had made a typically brisk 88, Head combined with Tom Cooper for a fourth-wicket stand of 188 that ensured SA would finish the day on top.
Cooper was 93 at stumps and Alex Carey had made 17.
The glaring disappointment for SA on Saturday was Test discard Callum Ferguson, whose run of bad form continued when he was dismissed for five.
That is the top score from his past six innings.
By contrast, Saturday was Head's first Shield ton of the season.
He now has 310 Shield runs this season at an average of 62.
Paceman Scott Boland (3-90) bowled Head with a peach after tea.
Head made his one-day and T20 international debuts this year and is again in the one-day squad for next month's home series against New Zealand.
If Head's form continues, he will be hard to ignore for next February's Indian Test tour.
Victoria, who defeated the Redbacks in last year's Shield final in Glenelg, again lead the pack and are unbeaten after three rounds atop the ladder with SA hot on their heels in second.
But it is the first time this season that the Bushrangers have started a Shield match on the back foot.
The Bushrangers left out Dan Christian in favour of John Hastings, who returned from a broken finger, while young 'keeper Sam Harper takes the gloves in place of Matthew Wade, who has earnt a Test recall.
Dumped Test bowler Joe Mennie has been named for SA alongside Chadd Sayers, who has been released from 12th man duties with Australia in the ongoing day-night Test at Adelaide Oval.
Fast-bowler Nick Benton is carrying the drinks for SA.
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