Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
NSW openers dig in as Shield clash fizzles out
Nick Larkin (68*) and Daniel Hughes (46*) bat out fourth day as wet weather and flat MCG track ensure stalemate
2 December 2019, 03:53 PM AEST
A fighting 82 to Will Pucovski in his comeback game is a positive for Victoria but the defending Marsh Sheffield Shield champions are still searching for their first win of the season.
After making 294 in the first innings, NSW resumed at 0-7 on the final day of the MCG clash after the home side had declared at 7-307 shortly before stumps on a rain-interrupted day three.
Showers disrupted play again on Monday, with the match eventually declared a draw with NSW on 0-129 at the scheduled tea break.
The result breaks the top-of-the-table Blues' run of four wins from four matches and leaves Victoria with two draws and three losses at the halfway point of the campaign.
Peter Handscomb's men face an uphill battle to make this season's final, but will be heartened by the returns of Pucovski and Nic Maddinson from mental health breaks.
Pucovski was in the wars, suffering three bruising blows facing NSW quicks, but batted with impressive determination and patience.
The 21-year-old was stuck on 75 on Sunday for just over 10 overs, facing 37 dot balls in a row during.
"Puc batted beautifully and they bowled really well to him," Handscomb told reporters.
"He was able to wear that, bat for a long period of time and stick to his guns.
"He looked really good."
Maddinson ensured the Bushrangers' innings was off to a solid start, belting seven fours in his innings of 59.
Peter Siddle (3-52) and James Pattinson (3-62) were the pick of the Victorian bowlers in the first innings.
For NSW, opener Nick Larkin (59 and 68) made a pair of half-centuries, Sean Abbott (54) and Peter Nevill (50) also made fifties and spinner Steve O'Keefe took 5-80.
The Vics lost Aaron Finch on Saturday after he was subbed out with a concussion suffered while fielding at short leg.
Spending Sunday resting at home, he is in some doubt for Victoria's clash with Western Australia starting on Saturday at the MCG.
Handscomb was unable to shed any light on Finch's availability or the possibility of Glenn Maxwell returning from his absence to deal with mental health issues.
"I've spoken to him a little bit just to see how he is," Handscomb said.
"But it's in his control (when he comes back) ... it's up to him and the people he's working with."
Victoria XI: Marcus Harris, Nic Maddinson, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb (c), Aaron Finch, Matt Short, Sam Harper (wk), James Pattinson, Chris Tremain, Peter Siddle, Jon Holland #SheffieldShield— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 28, 2019