South Australia 200 and 2 for 172 (Head 104*, Hunt 55*) trail Victoria 3 for 564 dec (Pucovski 255*, Harris 239) by 192 runs
For the second match running, captain Travis Head led South Australia’s quest to salvage a draw after the record-breaking feats of Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski where the Victoria openers added a record Sheffield Shield partnership of 486.
Pucovski might have managed a triple hundred, but instead was unbeaten on a career-best 255 – his second double century at the age of just 22 – when Peter Handscomb declared the moment Nic Maddinson fell to the first ball after lunch.
Having chased leather for 139 overs, South Australia were soon 2 for 10 as Scott Boland struck twice in his second over with the new ball and a three-day finish look a possibility, but Head set about restoring some Redbacks pride with his second century in consecutive innings. There is no shortage of in-form Australian batsmen.
As he did against Tasmania, where he made an unbeaten 171, Head took a positive approach and though he slowed up close to three figures the mark still came from a healthy 155 deliveries.
The ball after, Henry Hunt brought up his half-century as he provided a solid foil for Head and absorbed 207 deliveries during a partnership that stood at 162 by stumps. Having enjoyed a bit of early life in the surface on the opening day, Victoria’s young pacemen found it much harder work while there was not much on offer for the spinners.
Having spent such a long, dispiriting, innings in the field it was a commendable show of character from Head and Hunt to repel the bowlers for the rest of the day even on a surface now friendly for batting.
Victoria will still hope to press for victory, but at the start of the day it was all about the record books. Their opening pair resumed on 0 for 418 with Pucovski on 199 and he reached double off the first ball of the day as he and Harris moved briskly up the charts.
Harris was dropped at slip by Callum Ferguson with the score on 436 and it was his cover drive which took the stand to 465, surpassing the Mark Waugh-Steve Waugh landmark which was made against Western Australia at the WACA in 1990-91.
As attention turned to the all-time first-class partnership lists and a 500-stand loomed, South Australia finally ended the stand when Harris gloved a short ball from Wes Agar to the keeper. After 123 overs with the pads on, Handscomb finally walked in at No. 3.
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