Harris unbeaten on 41, Vics take control
Incumbent Test opener Marcus Harris has a golden chance to bolster his bid for Ashes selection on Friday when Victoria attempt to bat NSW out of a topsy-turvy Sheffield Shield contest.
The visitors will resume at 1-75 on day three at Sydney's Drummoyne Oval, holding a 123-run lead with Harris and captain Peter Handscomb at the crease.
Harris and Handscomb, unbeaten on 41 and 26 respectively in Victoria's second innings, were both out cheaply on Wednesday.
But the duo, forced to wait seven weeks to start their season because of state border closures, have already put on 53 runs and there is plenty more time to shine against a strong attack headlined by Test tweaker Nathan Lyon.
Lyon has figures of 0-22 from 11 overs in Victoria's second dig, while Sean Abbott is yet to snag a wicket after snaring 6-38 on day one.
"I just thought he played nice and straight and then punished us when we got a bit full," NSW captain Kurtis Patterson said of Harris.
"I thought he drove the ball nicely and picked us off when we got too straight as well.
"He's obviously a very good player, we're going to have to be really disciplined tomorrow."
Pace bowler Scott Boland hopes Harris and Handscomb can go on with the job on Friday.
"Pete was looking good in the first innings and then just missed one, and Harris has been batting really well the whole pre-season and the off-season in England as well," Boland said.
"Hopefully tomorrow we can really do the same thing and try to get a really big lead."
The visitors, having scrapped together a first-innings total of 199 thanks largely to Nic Maddinson's 87, busted the game open with seven wickets in Thursday's post-lunch session.
Boland did the bulk of the damage, finishing with a haul of 4-34 after cleaning up the tail and capturing the key scalp of captain and top-scorer Patterson for 48.
Patterson and nightwatchman Harry Conway lifted NSW to 2-89, threatening to bat through to lunch.
But Conway's dismissal triggered a shock collapse of 8-62, with the Blues folding for 151 to hand Victoria a first-innings lead of 48 runs.
Young quick Mitchell Perry removed Conway and former Test wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, who both chopped on, while left-arm spinner Jon Holland claimed the wickets of Abbott and Trent Copeland.
Patterson, who was reprieved on 33 when counterpart Handscomb dropped a straightforward slips catch, tried to dig in but was undone by a testing delivery that he edged to 'keeper Sam Harper.
Jack Edwards was stranded on 29 not out, joining Patterson, Conway (20), Abbott (10) and opener Matthew Gilkes (25) as the only batters to reach doubles figures for NSW.
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