Blues scrap on hard-fought first day –

Pattinson, Siddle shine for Vics as Blues dig in

After striking early trouble, New South Wales have fought back to be 6-223 at stumps on day one of their Marsh Sheffield Shield clash against Victoria at the MCG.

Having been sent in by Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb on Friday, the visitors slumped to 5-114, but Peter Nevill (40no) and Sean Abbott (45no) combined to frustrate the home side in the final session.

Test pacemen James Pattinson and Peter Siddle were the pick of the bowlers, Pattinson finishing with figures of 2-44 from 22 overs with six maidens and Siddle 2-40 from 21 overs with six maidens.

Siddle genius hands Pattinson wicket before lunch

NSW got off to a disastrous start at 1-1 when Siddle had Daniel Hughes caught behind in the fourth over and were 2-63 at lunch after Daniel Solway departed.

The Vics showed impressive hustle to beat the clock and squeeze in one more Pattinson over before the break and it paid off, with Solway edging to Handscomb at second slip when on 20.

Moises Henriques joined opener Nick Larkin when play resumed but was out for a duck when Pattinson struck again, Nic Maddinson taking a nice catch at mid-wicket.

Top scorer Larkin made 50 from 116 balls, with three fours, before Jon Holland had him caught behind, with Matthew Gilkes (28 runs off 49 balls) the last wicket to fall before tea.

Nick Bertus helped steady the ship, making 27 before he was removed by Siddle, with Nevill and Abbott combining for an unbeaten partnership of 74 runs to pull their side back into the contest.

Pattinson has made a welcome return for the Vics after he was released from the Test squad in Adelaide, with batsmen Maddinson and Will Pucovski also strengthening the line-up.

The Blues are without a host of Test stars including their first-choice bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, who will all play in the second Test against Pakistan starting on Friday.

NSW lead the Shield table with four wins from as many matches while Victoria are languishing in last spot.

Victoria: Peter Handscomb (c), Andrew Fekete, Aaron Finch, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Jon Holland, Nic Maddinson, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Matthew Short, Peter Siddle, Will Sutherland, Chris Tremain.

NSW Blues: Peter Nevill (c),  Sean Abbott, Nick Bertus, Trent Copeland, Harry Conway, Matthew Gilkes, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Steve O’Keefe, Daniel Solway.



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