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Maddinson and Short combine to keep Victoria’s undefeated Shield streak alive

February 22, 2022
Maddinson and Short combine to keep Victoria’s undefeated Shield streak alive

Victoria has held on for a draw yet again in the Sheffield Shield, with Nic Maddinson and Matt Short holding down the fort late on Day 4.

Dylan Bolch for Cricket Victoria Media

It’s now two draws in as many matches for Victoria’s Shield side in 2022, after splitting the points with South Australia earlier this month.

The end to the match was eerily similar to the South Australia contest, with Victorian bowling coach Mick Lewis commenting on the tough conditions for bowlers at the end of Day 1.

“Another grinding day, almost like Groundhog Day, we had a similar situation in Adelaide last week,” said Lewis.

“The boys toiled well, being super critical I thought we were a fraction short in the first hour but being the group they are, they problem solved well and came out after the drinks break and got their lengths right.”

James Pattinson returned to the side for his first game since November last year and bowled with trademark ferocity, forming a four-pronged Victorian pace attack.

“He brings a lot of energy to the changerooms… when he’s up and about the whole team’s up and about,” said Lewis.

However, on a flat deck it was spinner Matt Short who caused the most problems for Queensland, with figures of 4/74.

Short’s rise with the ball has become a luxury for Victoria, who can use him as a genuine spin option, allowing the Vics to select a fourth genuine quick in the line-up.

Short’s improved bowling was lauded by Lewis, who is now using Pattinson as an all-rounder option at number 7 in the batting line-up as a result.

“I think he has improved his consistency. With Shorty, he doesn’t actually need to get the ball in the air because he’s tall enough, so when he pushes it up, he doesn’t put any revs on it but when he actually bowls the ball a bit more, because he’s so tall he doesn’t need to flight the ball. For him it’s just about getting through the crease and the pace on the ball.”

Short himself was more than happy to chip in with the ball, after being known more for his batting throughout his career to date.

“It was certainly nice to take a few wickets and play my part with the ball,” said Short.

“I did a lot of work with Craig Howard here at Vics through pre-season, I was a bit disappointed with last week’s game and probably didn’t bowl as well as I would’ve liked coming off Big Bash.”

Head Coach Chris Rogers also credited Howard as a man who’s significantly helped Short’s bowling, explaining how hard work from both a technical and tactical perspective has seen an uptick in results.

“We targeted him in the preseason as someone we needed to improve with his bowling. He gives us balance, he only got two wickets last year and already he’s up to 13 or 14 wickets,” said Rogers.

Queensland debutant Jack Clayton made 109 in his maiden First-class innings whilst the big-hitter James Bazley (64) made some handy runs late to get Queensland to a total of 349.

Aside from Short, young quick Will Sutherland was impressive with the ball, taking 3/78 in addition to a direct runout to remove Queensland captain Jimmy Peirson for a duck.

A 180-run partnership between the in-form duo of Marcus Harris (91) and Peter Handscomb (92) laid the platform for Victoria in their first innings, before Nic Maddinson made his seventh ton for Victoria in Shield cricket.

After crossing from New South Wales less than four seasons ago, Maddinson has thrived playing for the Big V.

An innings that Maddinson described as “very pleasing”, is just another chapter in Maddinson’s bid to return to the Australia Test side.

Averaging in excess of 96 this Shield campaign, Rogers believes that the cool customer is in career-best form.

“Without a doubt, I’ve never seen him bat better,” said Rogers.

“Last year he was almost one step back to go two steps forward, but we are seeing the rewards now. His composure is something that is standing out, his maturity, those innings weren’t something you’d expect from a young Nic Maddinson.”

Maddinson has gained the respect of the opposition and his ability to play well in spin conditions has meant Rogers has seen him as a smoky for the upcoming Pakistan tour next month for quite some time.

“He’s low maintenance, he figures so much out for himself, he’s an extremely intelligent player. It’s a credit to him,” said Rogers.

Maddinson is on standby for the Pakistan tour as it stands, but should he be called upon, he is more than ready to make his mark for the national side.

Following the loss of Short for 48, six wickets fell fast as Victoria lost 7/24 and were all out for 360.

Journeyman Gurinder Sandhu (5/65) and veteran Mark Steketee (3/92) were the chief destroyers for the Sunshine State.

In Queensland’s second innings they struggled to build many meaningful partnerships, but the skipper Peirson stood up and led the way with a score of 76.

Bazley’s knock of 42* helped Queensland to a score of 7/246 before declaring, leaving Victoria a total of 236 for victory.

Promising speedster Mitch Perry was among the standout performers with the ball for Victoria with figures of 3/61, whilst spinner Jon Holland took 3/67 on a pitch that suited his bowling.

With all results in play still, Victoria “had every intention of trying to chase” the total but the loss of two early wickets meant that Maddinson (48*) and Short (31*) went into conservation mode to ensure Victoria’s undefeated Shield campaign continued.

Victoria face Queensland again on Wednesday in the Marsh Cup, before recommencing their Shield season on March 15 against Tasmania.

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