Pucovski did not need hospital treatment and was reportedly in good spirits after the blow © Getty
A Sean Abbott bouncer that felled young batsman Will Pucovski overshadowed day two of the important Shield match between Victoria and New South Wales at the Junction Oval.
In the first match of the penultimate Shield round, Victoria reached stumps at 156 for 5 with a handy lead of 184 runs in the low-scoring affair. Opener Travis Dean remains unbeaten on 64 to cap off a solid day for the Bushrangers.
But Pucovski’s frightening knock to the head in the second session soured the day’s play with the 20-year-old forced to retire hurt on four not out and he was subbed out for the remainder of the match due to concussion. Pucovski, who has a worrying history of concussion in his fledgling First-Class career, was quickly attended to by umpires, opponents, non-striker Dean and medical staff.
He was escorted off the field by medical staff and emotion overcame a visibly shaken Abbott, who teared up when he reached the top of his mark to bowl the next delivery. Abbott bowled the bouncer that struck Phillip Hughes at the SCG in November of 2014, which tragically led to his death. Pucovski did not need hospital treatment and was reportedly in good spirits after the blow.
Abbott had earlier bowled well and removed danger batsman Glenn Maxwell (33) as Victoria’s top-order struggled with the trend of ball thoroughly dominating bat continuing. Seamer Trent Copeland picked up four wickets, including the key scalps of first innings centurion Marcus Harris (4), Aaron Finch (14) and Cameron White (0) to keep NSW in the contest.
NSW resumed at a wobbly 65 for 4 after a top-order collapse late on day one and lost wickets regularly in the first session. Key batsmen Moises Henriques and Kurtis Patterson fell early followed by a golden duck to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill as the Blues slumped to 112 for 7.
Some resolute batting from 19-year-old debutant Param Uppal, who got off the mark with a six, and Copeland pushed NSW closer to Victoria’s first innings total but the visitors fell 28 runs short.
Second-placed Victoria have won two games since the resumption of the Shield to resurrect their season, while the Blues are without a win in their past three matches to slide down to fourth on the ladder.
Brief scores: Victoria 199 & 156/5 (Travis Dean 64 not out; Trent Copeland 4-26) lead New South Wales 171 (Kurtis Patterson 43; Fawad Ahmed 3-32) by 184 runs.