Victoria 6 for 616 dec (Maddinson 224, Pucovski 123, Harris 116) drew with South Australia 6 for 671 dec (Cooper 271*, Carey 117, Andrews 101)
Victoria coach Andrew McDonald refused to be drawn into a blame game after the Sheffield Shield match against South Australia ended in an inevitable early call-off in a contest that brought 1287 runs and just 12 wickets.
After the failed attempts to make a game of it yesterday – much to the frustration of Victoria captain Peter Handscomb – the final day was purely a case of counting down the clock and the players shook hands 30 minutes before tea when South Australia declared on 6 for 671. Tom Cooper finished unbeaten on a career-best 271 and Tom Andrews struck a maiden first-class hundred.
“You come here first day and you think there’s a chance for [the pitch] to deteriorate, there wasn’t a huge amount of grass, so in some ways we probably misread how it was going to deteriorate which can happen,” he said. “They [South Australia] were fully within their rights to keep batting, that’s the game. I’m not here to blame anyone, that includes the ground staff
“Early-season in Melbourne you feel for the ground staff, there was a lot of weather leading into the game. If there’s a bit of heat around does that become a good wicket? We don’t know. Last year the Junction Oval produced some really good games.”
On the third afternoon there was the sight of Handscomb and Marcus Harris bowling help-yourself offerings while James Pattinson also sent down offspin. McDonald said the Victoria quicks had been rested in the hope of a final-day set-up and when that didn’t happen there was no point bowling them into the ground so early in the season.
“I’m going to support Pete in that decision [for Pattinson to bowl spin], the only thing I don’t know is conversation between Patto and the captain,” McDonald said. “You can pick holes about whether it’s a good look for the game or not, that’s for you guys to decide but ultimately the game ended up where it ended up.”
“That position was clear, that we were hoping they’d be a game the next day. We were resting up our quicks to bowl on the final day then that didn’t unfold so we were in a bit of a holding pattern. We weren’t going to push our quicks. So it was like a bit of a stand-off in terms of tactics. We have a short turnaround to the next game so you have to know when to press in a season and when to hold. That probably wasn’t the time to break them on a surface not offering much. I think it was the right decision.”
In a match of endless batting milestones some more were chalked up during the final few hours with Andrews reaching three figures from 148 ball with a boundary off Glenn Maxwell.
Cooper had already gone to a double century early in the day and his eventual 271 was the highest score for a South Australia player in the Sheffield Shield since Darren Lehmann made 301 in 2005.
The stand between Cooper and Andrews was worth 210 as Nos. 5-7 in the order scored 489 runs between them after South Australia had been a little uncertain at 4 for 185. The No. 8 Nick Winter faced 127 deliveries for his 29.
Maxwell and Jon Holland did most of the bowling on the short final day and between them clocked up figures of 89-16-320-3.