Victoria all for 63 in Brisbane, test hopefuls Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb cheaply, video, highlights
Choosing to knock on a green wicket backfired badly on Test hope and Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb as he and his side were humiliated in Brisbane and fought for their lowest Sheffield Shield score on top 50 years old.
Victoria lost eight first session wickets before being rolled just after lunch for just 63 as Bulls bowlers Mark Steketee and Michael Neser continued their dominating start to the summer to destroy the visitors at Allan Border Field.
Newly selected in the Premier’s XI as two of this season’s ‘top class performers’, the duo captured seven wickets in the opening session as the visitors collapsed 2-0 to 8-47 at the lunch.
Each bowler then took another scalp after lunch to dismiss Victoria in just over 32 overs, to take their combined wickets to 41 this season, playing only their fourth game.
Neser finished with numbers 4-22 and has 19 for the season while Steketee, who took 6-38 against WA last week, took 5-18 in the disastrous Victorian effort and has 22.
Only second player Ashley Chandrasinghe, who debuted against Tasmania for a century, defied the Vics onslaught, facing 84 balls but for just 16 points before his exit and his 19-point stand with Scott Boland was the largest for visitors.
The tiny total was the smallest since the Vics were all knocked out for 73 against WA in 1971, and is the fourth-lowest total in over 130 years of Shield competition.
But the embarrassing scoreline did not make it into the top 20 lowest ever tally in competition, and was two points clearer than the 61 Victoria cleared away from Queensland just five years ago, in 2017.
Given their chance to strike on the same ground, the Bulls were not without their own problems, but overtook Victoria’s tally by just three wickets, and were 6-130 at the stumps, a 67 lead with Neser making it to the job again, making an undefeated 30.
The only concern for the home side, and potentially for Australia, was the struggles of Test hitter Marnus Labuschagne, out for nine against Scott Boland.
It was Labuschagne’s fourth single-digit score in a row after starting the season with 127 in the opener.
Fellow Test star Usman Khawaja hit 22 out of 68.
The day started horribly for the Victorians after Handscomb won the coin toss and decided to strike. Both Victorian fly-half, including Marcus Harris who was recalled to the Test squad this week to face the West Indies, fell in love with the Ducks.
Travis Dean, last year’s Shield co-player of the year, lasted just three balls and Harris seven, but neither scored and the Vics were 2-0 inside four overs .
It became 3-5 when Handscomb was out, then 4-12 when Nic Maddinson’s fights continued and he was taken out for just four, then 5-13 when Sam Harper was also out for one.
While Handscomb and Harris are the competition’s top two scorers this season, Maddinson has just 56 runs in five innings and is averaging just 11.
It only got worse for the Vics after his dismissal when Will Sutherland was caught for five and the visitors fell to 6-22 in the first hour.
But while Chandrasinghe did his best to keep the Bulls at bay in partnership with Mitch Perry and then Boland, even he succumbed on a dark day for the team.
The Vics topped their three lowest shield totals, scored over a century ago, the only times they’ve ever managed to hit 50, but the meager total now sits in their lowest five of all the temperature.
LOWEST SCORES EVER VICTORIAN SHEFFIELD SHIELD
31 v NSW Sydney 25 January 1907
35 v NSW Sydney 26 January 1927
43 v South Aust Melbourne 21 February 1896
63 v Queensland, Brisbane, 10 November 2022
73 v West Aust Melbourne 10 December 1971
76 v South Aust Melbourne 31 December 1900
76 V v Queensland Brisbane 7 March 1975