Josh Inglis’ century sets up likely stalemate as Will Pucovski eyes more runs

Victoria 4 for 414 dec and 0 for 61 trail Western Australia 479 (Marsh 135, Inglis 125, Holland 4-115) by four runs

Will Pucovski resumed his batting domination of the Sheffield Shield but did so without much hope of putting Victoria in a position to win after Western Australia dragged their first innings late into day three at Karen Rolton Oval through a superb century from the wicketkeeper Josh Inglis.

In the company of Marcus Harris, Pucovski strode to an unbeaten 32 to follow his first innings of 202, as the Victorian openers took their side to 0 for 61 and four runs behind WA overall.

Scored impressively while shepherding the tail from No. 8, this was the Leeds-born Inglis’ second first-class century in four games, after he had gone five years without making one while demonstrated tidy glovework for WA in that time.

He had arrived at the crease at a moment when Victoria seemed capable of taking control of the contest, with WA 6 for 272 at the fall of Shaun Marsh’s wicket for 135 and still 142 runs in deficit while facing the prospect of batting last against the sharp turn being generated by Jon Holland.

Marsh had received sturdy support from the nightwatchman Matt Kelly, who rather overstayed his welcome in the minds of the Victorians on his way to 31, but he had only added another 17 with D’Arcy Short when the WA captain was pinned lbw by Will Sutherland, skidding a ball through low from around the wicket.

Sutherland would take the next wicket also, but not until Inglis and Short had added 92 as the wicketkeeper took the lead role with a tempo seldom far from a run a ball. The pace quickened further when Cameron Gannon joined Inglis, the ninth-wicket pair adding 85 in a mere 10 overs and vaulting WA into the lead.

When Holland took a mark at deep fine leg to dismiss Gannon off Boland with the field extremely well spread, the game had gone from a very possible Victorian victory to a likely stalemate with one day remaining. Holland’s 4 for 115 contained plenty of handsome deliveries, while Sutherland and Boland also pushed through some effective spells for their captain Pete Handscomb. Simon Mackin was relatively economical, but Mitch Perry’s one wicket came at a cost of 4.5 runs an over.

All that appears to be left is another chance for Pucovski to add to his Shield tally, which currently stands at 489 runs for once out.

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