The Sheffield Shield got back underway this week after a Christmas break which saw the players enjoy the shorter form of the game in the shape of the Big Bash.
New South Wales (NSW) consigned Victoria (VIC) to their first loss of the Shield this season, as NSW beat the Bushrangers by an innings and 77 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Having won the toss NSW skipper Moses Henriques opted to field first, VIC responded with 258 all out. Opener Travis Dean got them off to a good start as he made 67, but the innings ran out of steam as Evan Gulbis, who scored 42, was the only other batsman to make a contribution worthy of note.
Harry Conway was the pick of the bowlers for NSW taking 3-25, while Doug Bollinger, Trent Copeland and William Somerville all took two wickets each.
In response to VIC’s 258, NSW piled on the runs as former Australian Test stars Ed Cowan and Peter Nevill shared a fifth wicket stand of 202. Cowan scored a massive 212, while Nevill made 118. Henriques and Kurtis Patterson also both passed 50 – but Cowan and Nevill were clearly the stars.
Jon Holland toiled for 41 overs to take 4-155, and he was supported by Gulbis and Jake Reed who took two wickets each.
With a first innings deficit of 265 to overcome VIC were always on the back foot in their second innings – so it was not surprising when they were bowled out for 188 – giving NSW a crushing win.
Dean batted through the VIC innings making 79*, but other than Holland who made 34, no one was able to offer the opener any support as Somerville took 4-68 and Sean Abbott took 3-32 to seal the NSW win.
Despite their first loss of the campaign VIC still sit top of the Shield standings, and after his impressive performances in both innings Dean now has 449 Shield runs this campaign at an average of 44.9.