The New South Wales Blues will be chasing quick wickets early on day three of their JLT Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at Drummoyne Oval after the visitors established a significant lead on Wednesday.
On a rain interrupted day that ended early due to bad light, Victoria was 7/159 at stumps with a lead of 130. The Victorian total is the highest of the match so far with 27 wickets falling across the first two days.
Earlier, the Blues resumed at 7/97 and added 38 runs before they were bowled out for 135 leading by 29. Blues captain Peter Nevill remained unbeaten on 33 from 61 balls.
Victoria currently have two of its most experienced players at the crease. Pacemen James Pattinson (12 not out) and Peter Siddle (1 not out) are both unbeaten at stumps.
Speedster Harry Conway added to his five wickets taken in the first innings. He returned 3-29 from 16 overs on day two that has bettered his previous career best match figures of 5-59.
Coupled with his 5-14 taken in the first innings, Conway has taken 8-43 over the first two days at Drummoyne Oval.
Victoria was 4/44 at one stage in its second innings and the prospect of a finish to the match within two days was not without possibility.
However, middle-order batsman Matt Short ensured that would not be the case.
Short became the first batsman in the match to reach 50 and shared two partnerships with former Blues batsman Nic Maddinson (33), and wicketkeeper-batter Seb Gotch (18) which could prove crucial in the low-scoring contest.
He and Maddinson added 52 runs for the fifth wicket, before Short combined with Gotch to add another 49 and take the lead past 100.
Short posted his half-century from 110 balls but was dismissed the very next ball with score on 145. The tall right-hander was caught at second slip by Nick Larkin from the bowling of Conway.
Gotch was the final wicket to fall for the day. In his second over, leg-spinner Jason Sangha (1-12) invoked a false stroke from the keeper and Kurtis Patterson took a terrific catch, running backwards, at mid-off.
Nevill, who resumed day two unbeaten on eight, shared a valuable ninth wicket stand worth 33 with Greg West (12) to secure the Blues a lead on the first innings.
West (2-26) also claimed the two crucial scalps of opener Marcus Harris (29) and Maddinson.
Steve O’Keefe came to the crease at No. 11 due to suffering minor hamstring soreness and was accompanied by a runner.
However, the spinner appeared to forget he had a runner and mayhem ensued with O’Keefe being run out returning for a second run on the first ball he faced. He was dismissed for a duck as the first run did not count.
His injury did not stop the wily left-arm finger spinner from again contributing to the wickets column in the second innings. He has 1-33 from 13.2 overs.