Before taking to the MCG Victorian stand-in skipper Nic Maddinson put his own poor start to the domestic season down to “the flows” of cricket.
Those flows have turned in to a tidal wave of disappointing efforts from the former Test batter and his teammates who once again failed to come to grips with a wicket which had more than a tinge of green on Thursday.
After being rolled twice for 195 runs, total, in Queensland last week including a first innings of just 63, the Victorians, minus Peter Handscomb and Marcus Harris who have more than 800 runs between them this season, collapsed yet again to be all out for 121 before tea.
Watch Australia v West Indies. Every test match live and ad-break in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
In the past three Shield innings, the Vics have lost 30 wickets for just 316 runs.
Before play began there was an emotional presentation as former Test opener Matthew Elliot presented his son, Sam, with his first Victorian cap and the young quick did his part by snaring both Tasmanian openers in his first three overs.
But the wickets didn’t fall as steadily for the visitors who made their way to 4-102 at stumps, just 223 runs scored for the day evident of batting difficulties.
Bowling first, and with former Test skipper Tim Paine relegated to 12th man for the visitors, veteran Tassie fast bowlers Jackson Bird (3-9) and Peter Siddle (2-25) turned the screws on a Victorian team carrying another first-gamer in Campbell Kellaway and a few players horribly out of form.
Huss opens up on Langer’s comments | 02:56
Last season Travis Dean was joint Shield player of the year but registered a third straight duck as he became Bird’s first victim.
Maddinson then came and went in a fashion which has become all too familiar for a blink who started the season hoping to put his name on the national selection radar.
Instead the left-hander is on the fast track to being forgotten having fallen in single-figures three-times in his seven Shield innings so far which have yielded just 85 runs.
“That’s cricket and you have to ride the flows of it sometimes,” Maddinson said of his own horror run.
“It’s disappointing in terms of runs and the way I started … it feels like a long time since I’ve made 100.
“I don’t think it’s through lack of training, I feel like I’ve got a method that’s going to work, it’s just the game sometimes.”
Meanwhile New South Wales remains anchored to the foot of the Sheffield Shield ladder after they were smashed by Western Australia within three days at the SCG to heap more pressure on coach Phil Jaques.
The 133-run loss means the Blues remain winless after five matches following another disastrous batting display on a pitch that offered plenty of spin and reverse swing for the bowlers who took advantage of the variable bounce on a dry deck.
A day after 20 wickets fell in Sydney, a Western Australian attack missing Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Joel Paris tore through the hosts inside 41 overs to justify their position at the top of the table after five rounds.
PM’s XI makes solid start against Windies | 00:58
The Blues were dismissed for just 134 after they were rolled for 93 on Wednesday, with debutant Chris Green top-scoring with 38 not out to go with his nine wickets for the match.
NSW has one more match starting next week against Victoria before the Sheffield Shield goes on break for the BBL, and it’s in that period where Jaques’ future will come under review.
“It’s been made public that Phil (Jaques) is in the last season of his existing contract,” Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said on Sky Sports Radio.
“He’s as aware as anyone that, with the legacy and the history of the Blues, as a coach you have to get results and develop players.
“It was always planned that there’ll be a review.”While the pitch had its gremlins, a couple of NSW batters will be very disappointed with their shot selection with Dan Hughes trapped in front attempting a reverse sweep as the Blues crumbled to be 6-85 at lunch.
Things didn’t get much better after lunch as David Moody’s reverse swing proved unplayable, with the seamer claiming three wickets including a vicious yorker that knocked over Mickey Edwards to end the match.
Western Australia’s title defense is well and truly on track, with a couple of their unheralded players stepping up to get the job done in Sydney.
Sam Fanning was the only batter to pass 50 for the match, while off-spinner Corey Rocchiccioli claimed the best match figures of his first-class career with four wickets in each innings.
The only New South Welshman who would have enjoyed what he saw was Nathan Lyon, who missed the match, but will relish the conditions if the pitch remains the same for the New Year’s Test.