Harris and Handscombe dig in on a tough MCG pitch – LSB

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Victoria 201 for 4 (Harris 73, Handscombe 66) vs Queensland

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

On a difficult green pitch, they carefully continued their work after being sent into bat by Usman Khawaja. Test contender Marcus Harris hit a sick but important 73 in front of national selector Tony Dudemide.

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

Harris, along with Cameron Bancroft, is in line to replace David Warner when the veteran opener withdraws from Test cricket in January. He was eventually bowled rather poorly as the ball bounced off his pad and onto his leg stump.

Fellow Tester Peter Handscombe reached 66 before falling behind Jack Wildermuth.

Victoria’s run rate is just over two goals and they will need to raise that significantly on Friday if they are to achieve a result in the four-day fixture.

Queensland were rocked by the withdrawal of speedsters Michael Eagle and Mark Steketee before the match. After two painful defeats in a row, the Bulls cannot be said to be without their most important bowlers.

Eagle returned to Brisbane to be with his partner during the birth, while Steketee woke up feeling ill and withdrew from the team.

Former West Australian bowler Liam Guthrie has been brought into the Queensland squad.

Guthrie got the key wicket of Will Pucovski, who has been below his best since returning to the Shield this season, for 5.

With Test spinner Todd Murphy resting, left-arm spinner Doug Warren earned his first-class debut for Victoria.

Queensland and Victoria are in the bottom two places on the table with each state winning just one of their first four matches to start the season.

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