Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
'No bad blood': All smiles after Junction Oval bat-a-thon
Vics, Redbacks on good terms insists SA skipper, after 1,287 runs and just 11 wickets were taken over four days in drawn Shield match
Louis Cameron at Junction Oval
13 October 2019, 04:36 PM AEST
Travis Head believes South Australia won respect back from Victoria and insisted there's no bad blood between the two sides despite Peter Handscomb’s displeasure over not accepting his terms for a final-day run-chase on a Junction Oval highway.
Handscomb lit a fuse under a simmering Marsh Sheffield Shield rivalry on Saturday when he responded to Head not agreeing on a target for a final-day run-chase by allowing the game to descend into a farce for most of the third day’s final session and then making a pointed dig at the Redbacks' poor recent first-class record after play.
Head had pushed for a 300 to 320-run target from 80 overs, while Handscomb wanted them to chase 350.
With no deal able to be struck, Handscomb and Marcus Harris, neither of whom have ever taken a first-class wicket, bowled 18 overs between them while paceman James Pattinson sent down two overs of off-spin on Saturday.
South Australia then ploughed on with their first innings the following day, as Tom Cooper scored a mammoth 271 not out to take the visitors to 6-671 when stumps were finally called before tea on Sunday's fourth day.
Winners of back-to-back Shield finals over South Australia in 2016 and 2017, Victoria are undefeated in their last nine games against South Australia, which Handscomb referenced on Saturday when he said, "they come here and get a draw and that's it. Normally we beat them."
While those comments struck a nerve, Head stressed he remains on good terms with Handscomb.
"I don't think there's bad blood," said Head, vice-captain of the Test side during the Ashes before being dropped for the final match.
"I know (Pete) said yesterday that they normally beat us. That was probably the only thing that annoyed us. That annoyed me.
"I've got a lot of respect for the Victorians and what they've been able to achieve. They've had the wood over us … but we've played two Shield finals against them.
"I think we earned a lot of respect back from today. I don't think they expected us to do that to be honest.
"Over the past few years, they've played extremely good cricket against us. I'm very happy with the way we went about it.”
Some sense of normality was restored on the fourth morning of the match.
Pattinson and pace partners Chris Tremain and Scott Boland all bowled challenging spells, but the Junction Oval pitch showed no signs of final-day wear and tear.
The South Australians, with no eagerness to declare, went about their business with a minimum of fuss as Cooper brought up the second double century of the match (Nic Maddinson made 224 in Victoria's first dig of 6d-616) while Tom Andrews (101 off 150 balls) reached his maiden first-class ton.
All up, 1,287 runs were scored and just 12 wickets were taken across the game's four days.
The home side's coach Andrew McDonald, who played for both Victoria and South Australia in a 95-game first-class career, backed Handscomb's unusual tactics on day three but said Head had been well within his rights to refuse their offer.
"The thing about that position that was really uncommon was that both teams were in a position of strength," McDonald told reporters.
"South Australia being four (wickets) down, us having 616 on the board – it really is a rare position for both teams to be in.
"Usually you've got one team that wants to tango and push (for a result) because they might be behind the game. But two teams in a position of strength couldn't come to an (agreement) in terms of a run chase.
"To me, both teams are entitled to play the game in the way they want to – full respect for that they did and full respect for the way we kept toiling this morning.
"It was a bit of a standoff in terms of tactics. Our fast bowling group has been amazing over a period of time and we've been able to manage them and get them through a season and that probably wasn't the time to break them on a surface that didn't offer much for them.
"I'm going to support Pete in that decision. You can pick holes in whether it's a good look for the game or not."
McDonald said Aaron Finch would be touch and go to play in Victoria’s next Shield match in Perth next week after the veteran suffered back spasms against South Australia, but the Australia limited-overs captain does not appear in any doubt for the upcoming Gillette T20 series against Sri Lanka.
Peter Siddle could return for the clash against Western Australia after suffering a hip injury during the recent Ashes campaign, while scans revealed no fracture in Maddinson’s finger after a nasty blow at short leg on Saturday.
Victoria XI: Marcus Harris, Nic Maddinson, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb (c), Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Sam Harper (wk), James Pattinson, Chris Tremain, Scott Boland, Jon Holland.
South Australia XI: Jake Weatherald, Henry Hunt, Jake Lehmann, Travis Head (c), Tom Cooper, Alex Carey (wk), Tom Andrews, Nick Winter, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Luke Robins.