The NSW Blues have recovered well after a shaky start to their round five Marsh Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria at the MCG.
NSW finished day one at 6/223 after Victorian skipper and former Australian Test batsman Peter Handscomb won the toss and elected to bowl.
Blues captain, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill (40 not out) and fast bowler Sean Abbott (45 not out) put together an unbeaten 74-run seventh wicket partnership to end the day on a positive note after NSW lost 5/114 in the first two sessions.
A nice 50 from opener Nick Larkin was the major highlight for the Blues during the first part of the day.
Despite sitting atop the Shield ladder after four wins from as many games, travelling to Melbourne without their Test stars was always going to be a tough task for the Blues, particularly against a Victorian attack boasting Test pacemen Peter Siddle (2-40) and James Pattinson (2-44).
Larkin’s half-century steadied the ship somewhat following the fourth over dismissal of fellow opener Daniel Hughes (1) by Siddle, before Pattinson struck to claim the wickets of Daniel Solway (20) and Moises Henriques for a duck, in quick succession, leaving NSW at 3/65.
Matt Gilkes (28) and Nick Bertus (27) also made starts in the middle order.
Nevill and Abbott will be hoping to score some quick runs early tomorrow in order to give their side a big total to defend.