Harris and Handscomb dig in on tricky MCG pitch

Harris and Handscomb dig in on tricky MCG pitch

Victory 201 for 4 (Harris 73, Handscomb 66) vs. queensland

Victoria clawed her way through a slow first day of their Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland at the MCG.

On a tricky green pitch, they carefully went about their business after Usman Khawaja sent them into bat. Test contender Marcus Harris scored a patient but important 73 against national coach Tony Dodemaide.

Coming off a century on a flat pitch at the Junction Oval against Tasmania last week, this knock, off 212 balls, was arguably better as it was played in difficult conditions.

Harris, along with Cameron Bancroft, is in line to replace David Warner when the veteran opener retires from Test cricket in January. Finally, he was bowled with some bad luck when the ball bounced from his pad to his leg stump.

Fellow Test prospect Peter Handscomb hit 66 before being trapped behind Jack Wildermuth.

Victoria’s run rate sits just above two or more and they will have to raise it significantly on Friday if they are to force a result in the four-day match.

Queensland were rocked by the retirements of quicks Michael Neser and Mark Steketee before the match. After two agonizing losses in a row, the Bulls are missing arguably their two most important bowlers.

Neser returned to Brisbane to be with his partner giving birth, while Steketee woke up feeling unwell and withdrew from the team.

Former Western Australia bowler Liam Guthrie has joined the Queensland squad.

Guthrie claimed the key wicket of Will Pucovski, who has been below his prolific best since returning to the Shield side this season, for five.

With Test spinner Todd Murphy rested, left-arm spinner Doug Warren made a first-class debut for Victoria.

Queensland and Victoria sit in the bottom two places in the table and each state has only won one game of its first four matches to start the season.