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Pucovski blow overshadows Handscomb ton

Victoria picked up a gritty draw against South Australia thanks to captain Peter Handscomb but the final day’s play at Adelaide Oval was overshadowed by yet another concussion injury to young batting prodigy Will Pucovski.

Victoria ended at 6-236 thanks to Peter Handscomb’s 148 not out with the visitors chasing 316 to win after South Australia were bowled out for 213 early in the day.

The day’s main drama occurred before play with Pucovski reportedly struck in the head during the morning’s pre-game warm-up.

It is believed to be the 11th concussion suffered by Pucovski and the recurring injury continues to overshadow what is an otherwise highly promising career.

Pucovski took his place in the field on day four but waved to the sideline after just three balls and ultimately departed the venue after lunch with Cricket Australia doctor Geoff Verrall present.

Pucovski scored a stylish 54 in Victoria’s first innings in what was his comeback Shield match after suffering a concussion in November, an injury which ruled him out of contention for Ashes selection.

Test opener Marcus Harris (5) and Nic Maddinson (2) both failed at the top of the order, but it was veteran Handscomb who ensured his side held off the persistent Redbacks’ attack until play ended an over short of the scheduled 91 overs.

The former Test batsman hit 21 fours and chewed up 280 deliveries in his 17th first-class century.

“That is a couple of times now in the past few seasons that he (Handscomb) has played a backs-to-the-wall type innings like that and it shows the quality of the man and his willingness to fight,” said Victoria head coach Chris Rogers.

“We fought hard all day and made South Australia fight for everything they got.”

Handscomb received notable support from Matt Short (25) and Sam Harper (22) but Pucovski’s replacement, Travis Dean, was lbw for a second-ball duck.

“The surface was pretty good, and if you weren’t looking to score and go hard, it was probably a little bit easier,” said Redbacks head coach Jason Gillespie.

“We dominated this game and are well and truly moving in the right direction.”

Winless in four matches to date, South Australia’s hopes of reaching the final are now all but extinguished.

Victoria remain in the hunt for next month’s season decider with two wins from their four outings.

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