Redbacks shield season off to horror start
NIC Maddinson continued his stunning form resurgence since switching states as the Redbacks were put to the sword on the opening day of the new Sheffield Shield season on Thursday.
Former New South Welshman Maddinson - on the professional cricket scrapheap a year ago - thumped an unbeaten 195 as Victoria lost just one wicket for 362 runs on a horror day for the South Australian bowlers at St Kilda's Junction Oval.
Supported by Australian opener Marcus Harris (116), former Test batsman Maddinson's century was his fourth in six Shield matches for Victoria after losing his Blues contract last season and moving to Melbourne with the promise only of a Big Bash League deal with the Melbourne Stars.
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With national selector Trevor Hohns in attendance, Maddinson cashed in on a docile batting pitch after the home side won the toss and batted.
He belted four sixes and 21 boundaries in his marathon, 291-ball innings, batting through the day as the Redbacks struggled mightily without their three injured strikemen - Joe Mennie (hamstring) and Chadd Sayers and Daniel Worrall with back problems.
Young gun Will Pucovski was unbeaten on 45 at stumps as SA's sole wicket fell to left-arm seamer Nick Winter (1/46).
Fast-mediums Kane Richardson and Luke Robins and spinners Tom Andrews, Adam Zampa and Travis Head all went wicketless as the visitors toiled hard without reward against the star-studded Victorian team.
The 27-year-old Maddinson, who played three Tests for Australia in 2016, making just 27 runs in four innings at an average of 6.75, is now back knocking on the door for national selection after putting on a superb 220-run opening partnership with Harris which has put Shield champion Victoria firmly in control of the match.
SA's only wicket came in the 58th over when Harris was caught by Andrews in the gully.
Andrews dropped a tough chance off Harris in the same position when he was on 38.
"It was a long day on a flat wicket for us,'' Winter said.
"We'd hoped to bat first on that wicket but to the Vics credit they batted really well.
"We thought the wicket would have a little bit more pace in it than it did, which didn't help with our bowling plans.
"We had plans to bowl short to a few of their boys but when the ball is only getting up to waist height it made it difficult.
"But we stuck at our task really well, created a couple of half chances, and now have to just try to stay in the game.
"I think the wicket will break up as the game goes on, so the result might depend on how we handle the spin bowling of 'Dutchy' (Jon Holland).''
The Redbacks, who failed to win a Shield match last season, have handed a first-class debut to new recruit, top-order batsman Henry Hunt from New South Wales.