Victoria 3 for 311 (Maddison 159*, White 65*, Maxwell 57) v Western Australia
Nic Maddinson marked his first Sheffield Shield match for Victoria with a fine unbeaten century to help the home side into a strong position against Western Australia at the MCG.
Maddinson lost his contract with New South Wales at the end of last season and moved to Victoria for fresh opportunities. He played in the JLT Cup but had to bide his time in Premier and Futures League cricket before getting an opportunity at Shield level in the absence of Test players Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch and Peter Handscomb.
Maddinson’s ninth first-class century came off 155 balls and he combined in a 112-run third-wicket partnership with Glenn Maxwell.
Maddinson did get a life on 92 that bizarrely ended Maxwell’s innings on 57. Matt Kelly dropped a return catch but the ricochet bounced onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end where Maxwell was run-out, unluckily short of safe ground.
Cameron White picked up the slack as he and Maddinson put on an unbeaten 134-run stand to take Victoria comfortably through to stumps. White moved easily to 65 not out feasting on a pretty inexperienced attack. Maddinson showed immense maturity to bat through the day, facing 282 balls for 21 fours and two sixes.
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Earlier, newly-minted Victorian skipper Travis Dean fell for 16 but did play a part in an important 62-run opening stand after winning the toss. Young batting prodigy Will Pucovski missed out on his return from mental-health issues, chasing a wide one to be dismissed for 1.
The Warriors’ attack strangely didn’t feature Ashton Agar, who was on Australia’s last Test tour as the back-up spinner. He’s played just four games of cricket since early September but the team opted to rest him ahead of the Big Bash League, which begins in late December.
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Adrian Birrell named as Hampshire’s new head coach
Adrian Birrell, the former Ireland and England Under-19 coach, has been named as first-team manager at Hampshire, and joins the club on a three-year deal following the departure of Craig White last summer.
Birrell, who was South Africa’s assistant coach for four years from 2013 to 2017, was most recently in charge of Paarl Rocks in the inaugural Mzansi Super League, where he helped guide the side to the knock-outs.
After a long first-class career with Eastern Province, made his name as a coach during his successful stint with Ireland from 2002 to 2007, a run which culminated in their memorable progression to the Super Eights in the 2007 World Cup, following their famous win over Pakistan at Sabina Park.
He was then named England U19 Head Coach in 2010, before joining South Africa’s coaching set-up under Russell Domingo.
“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as the Hampshire First Team Manager,” said Birrell. “While I was with the Proteas, we played at the Ageas Bowl in 2017 and I was very impressed with the world-class facilities.
“I am very excited to be working with such a talented group of cricketers and look forward to competing for honours in all three formats – it is a wonderful opportunity for me personally and I can’t wait to get started in the new year.”
Giles White, Hampshire’s director of cricket, added: “Adi is someone who is well respected throughout the cricketing world and has a reputation for improving individual and team performance.
“He brings experience, a sense of enjoyment and a genuine passion for the game and the people that play it – I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Birrell will join up with the Hampshire squad in March, leading the squad during their pre-season tour and friendly matches ahead of the commencement of the 2019 season in April.
Wagner returns as New Zealand opt to bowl
Toss New Zealand opt to bowl v Sri Lanka
Fresh off a magnificent series win in UAE – their first win away against Pakistan in 49 years – New Zealand began their home summer with the toss favouring them on a grassy Wellington deck.
Predictably, having loaded the side with the firepower of Neil Wagner, alongside Trent Boult and Tim Southee, they elected to bowl first. Team dynamics demanded they pick just one spinner, Ajaz Patel, the left-arm tweaker, being preferred over William Sommerville, one of their architects of their win in the third Test in Abu Dhabi.
“Not too bad with the jet lag, it almost feels like a continuation of that series in another side of the world,” Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain said. “There’s good depth in the squad and guys are knocking on the door. Whoever gets the nod has to just ensure the intensity is up always.”
Sri Lanka will be looking to take away the high notes from their lone warm-up fixture last week, where they followed a disappointing 210 for 9 in the first innings with 321 for 5 declared. That said, adjusting to the pace and bounce in Test situations will be a far different proposition to playing a warm-up against a weakened attack.
They went in with a three-one combination, with Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal and Dilruwan Perera making up their bowling attack. They could call upon the services of Angelo Mathews from time-to-time, if absolutely necessary, although his primary role in the set-up will be that of a middle-order batsman.
In many ways, Sri Lanka will want this to be a reboot of sorts having been whitewashed 3-0 at home not too long ago by England.
New Zealand: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara
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