Glenn Maxwell fell agonisingly short of a century at the MCG, but his innings of 96 has put Victoria in the driver’s seat in its Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia.
The Bushrangers are 4-247 at stumps on day two with a first-innings lead of four runs over the Warriors.
Victoria resumed at 1-20 on Monday morning having dismissed WA for 243 after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat.
Maxwell continued to build his case for a Test recall after he was left out of the Ashes squad.
He scored a stunning 278 against NSW last week and smashed nine fours and a six in a commanding display before Jhye Richardson trapped him LBW after tea.
“It would have been nice to get to three figures but it’s nice to be amongst the runs again,” Maxwell said.
“It would have been nice to be on 150 overnight and drive the game tomorrow and really have a big innings of substance … really control the game with the boys.
“But the guys did a great job (late in the day) … for them to bat through that period was quite tough.
“Not losing consecutive wickets throughout the innings is a really good sign of a batting group that’s starting to work it out where we probably didn’t do that at the start of the season.”
Cameron White (53 not out) and Dan Christian (17 not out) will look to build the Bushrangers’ lead on day three as they attempt to score their first win of the season and climb off the bottom of the Shield table.
Scattered showers across Melbourne made conditions tricky, with over two hours of play needing to be recovered after the covers were called for on three occasions.
Opener Marcus Harris (43) was caught in the deep off the bowling of Ashton Agar shortly before lunch and skipper Aaron Finch made 21 before he was bowled by Matthew Kelly with the score at 3-128.
Richardson is WA’s only multiple wicket-taker with figures of 2-56 from 20 overs.
Finch praised the even contribution from his bowlers on day one but he was particularly pleased with spinners Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland, who took three wickets each.
Will Bosisto top-scored for WA with 57 and wicketkeeper Josh Inglis made a handy 46.