Australia’s batsmen have found form ahead of the upcoming Ashes series, but the news wasn’t as positive for spinner Nathan Lyon.
With the First Ashes Test less than six weeks away and his spot as Australian opener on the line as Will Pucovski looms, Marcus Harris let his bat do the talking in Victoria’s clash with NSW.
Harris (137) and Peter Handscomb (115) boosted their cases for Ashes selection on a windswept third day of Victoria’s Sheffield Shield clash with NSW in Sydney.
The venue-record stand of 261 runs at Drummoyne Oval allowed Handscomb to declare at 3-290, with the Blues to resume at 1-33 on Saturday after being set a target of 339.
Harris spent seven and a half hours at the crease, completing his 19th first-class ton after a productive winter stint with Leicestershire that featured 655 red-ball runs at 54.6.
Former Test seamer Trent Copeland, who toiled for 17 overs during Victoria’s second dig, highlighted Harris’ improvement since first donning the baggy green in 2018.
“Having bowled to him a lot over the years, he used to be really off-side dominant,” Copeland said.
“Probably to his detriment, when he first started playing Test cricket.
“He’s very much scoring 360 degrees now. He looks a complete player. He had a big, big off-season in the UK.
“He looks primed if there’s a position at the top of the order for Australia.”
Chances on 63 and 66, offered in the shadows of lunch, were the only blemishes in an otherwise composed knock from the left-hander.
Test star Marnus Labuschagne has cashed in again with the bat for Queensland in their clash with Tasmania in Townsville.
The Tigers collapsed to be all out for 182 early on day three, having resumed on 4-150.
Queensland, having declared at 6-487 in their first innings, raced to 1-132 in their second innings before Bulls captain Usman Khawaja declared once again.
Labuschagne, who scored 136 in the first innings, finished unbeaten on 60, while Joe Burns (46no) was also among the runs.
It left Tasmania with a daunting 438-run victory target, but the Tigers dug deep to reach 1-127 at stumps and need another 311 runs on the final day to win.
While Australia’s batsmen put their best foot forward, spinner Nathan Lyon struggled with the ball for NSW.
He finished his spell with 0-64 off 29 overs.
Lyon snared just one wicket in the first innings, as teammate Sean Abbott skittled the Vics with 6/38.
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