Dean in rare air, carries bat for Victoria

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Victoria opener Travis Dean has gone from having no cricket to play to rarefied air after becoming the third man in the state's history to twice carry his bat through a Sheffield Shield innings.

Bereft of competitive cricket since April, Dean made up for lost time on Monday with an unbeaten 144 in Victoria's Shield clash with NSW at the SCG.

It helped the Victorians to 271 in their first innings on day three, before the Blues went to stumps at 2-76 and with a lead of 38.

And while a draw likely looms, Dean provided the bright spark on Monday.

Behind Will Pucovski and Marcus Harris in the pecking order, he also missed out on selection when James Seymour was picked ahead of him last match.

But after bursting onto the scene in 2015, Dean's knock marked the second time he has carried the bat after doing likewise against NSW five seasons ago.

Before that, only Matt Elliott and Bill Lawry have done so twice or more for Victoria in the 129-year history of the Shield.

"They are greats of the game so it is good to be mentioned with them," Dean said.

"It's a good achievement. But I am just trying to take my position in the team and do what I can when others are away.

"What happens, happens. But if I make runs it's up to selectors to push from there on in if I get another game.

"This could be my only game for the season and if it is, then I am happy I performed."

The 29-year-old was near faultless in his 300-ball knock, playing nicely square of the wicket but remaining patient under heavy cloud cover.

He held the innings together after Victoria fell to 3-2 late on day one, before forming a 142-run fourth-wicket stand with Jonathan Merlo that was punctuated by a washed-out day two.

And after Merlo went lbw to Moises Henriques when he was trapped on the crease, Dean continued.

He brought up his seventh first-class hundred when he worked Chris Tremain off his pads for two runs, and offered up his only chance on 43 when dropped by Kurtis Patterson at second slip.

It marked a reprieve for Dean, who only came back into Victoria's side with Harris and Nic Maddinson in Australian camps and Will Pucovski injured.

"You have to not get disillusioned with sitting on the sideline ... you can't get too emotional," Dean said.

"I had a couple of games at the back end of last year and didn't perform as I would have liked.

"That could have been my last three hits in first-class cricket."

Former Victoria quick Tremain was the Blues' best after doing the damage early with 4-52, while spinner Tanveer Sangha again claimed wickets with 3-60.

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