Marsh Sheffield Shield 2020-21
Nervous moments as Vic pair rewrite records
Marcus Harris reveals he and fellow opener Will Pucovski were keenly aware of the history they were making as they set a host of new records in the Sheffield Shield
Andrew Ramsey in Glenelg
1 November 2020, 03:04 PM AEST
Not much appeared to faze Victoria's record-setting opening pair of Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski as they set a new Marsh Sheffield Shield benchmark, but Harris has revealed there were a few nervous moments as the milestones continued to tumble.
Harris, who was dismissed for 239 midways through the morning session against South Australia at Glenelg Oval after the pair had scored an unprecedented 486 for the first wicket, reckons he was "pretty relaxed" throughout the pair's first Shield union.
But the left-hander noted Pucovski was mindful of some of the long-standing benchmarks as they loomed, not that it slowed their progress into the game's record books.
"He gets nervous about some weird things, he was getting nervous about going past big milestones which he didn't really need to get too nervous about," Harris said today of his partner who remained unbeaten on a career-high 255 as Victoria declared at 3-564 immediately after lunch.
"But it was pretty relaxed.
"I'm pretty relaxed and Will's pretty relaxed.
"He batted really well, and he didn't really feel under pressure too much.
"It was challenging with the light at some stages yesterday, but it was great just to sit down the other end and watch him play.
"We knew that 464 was the old record (for any-wicket partnerships in Shield cricket) so it was good to get past that.
"We were aware of it, but the nerves probably aren't there as much when you've been going for that long.
"It was great to share the partnership with Will and it's something we can look back on at the end of our careers."
Among the numerous record the pair set over the past two days of abject domination were:
- Highest opening partnership for Victoria in Sheffield Shield cricket (previously 375 – Bill Ponsford/Bill Woodfull v NSW at MCG in 1926-27
- Highest opening partnership in Sheffield Shield history (previously 431 – Geoff Marsh/Mike Veletta for Western Australia v South Australia at WACA Ground in 1989-90
- Highest partnership for any wicket in Sheffield Shield history (previously 464 – Mark Waugh/Steve Waugh for New South Wales v Western Australia at WACA Ground in 1990-91
- First time in Shield history both openers have scored double-centuries in same innings (previous best – Victoria's Jason Arnberger (214) and Matthew Elliott (183no) v Tasmania at Punt Rd Oval in 1999-00)
Also, Pucovski (currently 22 years 227 days) became only third player in Shield history to post two double-centuries before reaching age 23.
The others are ex-Test opener (and current SA assistant coach) Greg Blewett (two) and Australia' peerless batting legend Sir Donald Bradman (four).
Pucovski now has three Shield scores in excess of 180 in his 17th appearance – including 243 against WA in Perth in 2017-18 and 188 against Queensland at the MCG a year earlier – which lands him in similarly elite company.
Only former NSW and Australia batter Alan Kippax posted three Shield scores of 180 or more in fewer Shield innings (24) than the 26 it has taken Pucovski to attain that benchmark.
By comparison, it took the usually incomparable Bradman 32 knocks.
The Victoria stand was 17 runs shy of the all-time first-class opening partnership record in Australia which is 503 posted by current Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (288no) and New South Wales' Ryan Carters (209) in a tour match against New Zealand at Blacktown Oval in 2015-16.
The highest opening partnership in first-class cricket is 561 by Waheed Mirza and Mansoor Akhtar for Karachi Whites in Pakistan's domestic competition at Karachi in 1976-77.
The all-time record for any wicket is 624 by former Sri Lanka captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in a Test match against South Africa at Colombo in 2006.