Marcus Harris vanquishes Ashes demons with record-breaking knock

Sure, making a double hundred and posting a record Sheffield Shield partnership is great, but Marcus Harris appears happiest about being out of lockdown, out of a mask, and out in the Adelaide sunshine.

Harris (239 from 399 deliveries) and Will Pucovski (255 not out from 386) put on 486 for Victoria’s first wicket against the beleaguered Redbacks at Glenelg Oval on Saturday and Sunday.

The Redbacks face heavy defeat even after skipper Travis Head dug in to make a fighting unbeaten century late on Sunday.

Harris and Pucovski broke the Waugh twins’ Sheffield Shield record stand for any wicket, 464 against West Australia at the WACA in 1990.

The stand is the 19th highest in all first-class cricket, and the fifth highest by an opening pair.

The record came at 11.09am when Harris drove Wes Agar to the cover rope.

“I wasn’t aware of all the numbers until yesterday (Saturday) when the boys started clapping a lot,” Harris said. “We weren’t too sure what was going on.

“Overnight we saw the records that we’d broken. I knew that 465 was the old record so it was good to get past that and great to share a good partnership with Will.”

Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski celebrate after reaching the highest Sheffield Shield partnership.Source:Getty Images

The COVID-19 situation in their home state meant the Victorians were made to wait to start their Sheffield Shield campaign.

“Considering most Victorians and all of us have been locked in our houses for pretty much six months, we were pretty eager to get outside and get playing,” Harris said.

“We had pretty good preparation with practice games while we were in Melbourne.

“The two weeks quarantine probably set us back a little bit. We’ve had good preparation in the nine days since getting out of quarantine.

“We’re just happy to be outside and not wearing a mask.”

Harris’ technique was exposed by an around-the-wicket attack by the English seamers in the 2019 Ashes.

The Redbacks fast bowlers tried to replicate the method deployed so successfully by Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.

Harris said he had worked on trying not to get squared up by the around-the-wicket angle.

“I’ve had my challenges around the wicket through my whole career and especially last year in the Ashes,” Harris said.

“So I thought it was something I had to work on. By no means is it perfect, but I’ve tried to tinker with it.”

After declaring at 3-564, Victoria reduced SA to 2-10 before Henry Hunt (55 not out from 207 deliveries) and Head (104 from 171) added an unbeaten 162 for the third wicket.

At stumps the home side was 2-172 and needing to bat most of Monday to save the match.

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