Pucovski falls short as Vics declare

Jason Phelan
Victoria's Will Pucovski struggled for runs in the first session on day three of their Shield match

Will Pucovski has fallen short of a fifth first-class century on a rain-interrupted day three of the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and NSW at the MCG.

The hosts resumed at 2-205 on Sunday, in reply to the Blues' first innings of 294, and declared at 7-307 with a lead of 13 runs.

Nine overs were scheduled to be bowled before stumps, but play was called off due to bad light after one Jon Holland over, with Nick Larkin (6no) and Daniel Hughes (1no) taking NSW to 0-7.

In his first innings after taking time out to concentrate on his mental health, Pucovski batted bravely for his 82 but was stumped by Peter Nevill off the bowling of Steve O'Keefe in the second over following a four-hour rain break.

Play was halted shortly after lunch, with players returning for a shortened final session where O'Keefe also removed Sam Harper (1) and James Pattinson (9) to improve his figures to 5-80.

Pucovski was in the wars earlier, copping three heavy blows to the body while facing quicks Sean Abbott and Trent Copeland, but displayed impressive patience and tenacity.

The 21-year-old was stuck on 75 for more than over 10 overs, facing 37 dot balls in a row, with the recast MCG pitch showing more signs of life than it has in recent times.

"It would've been a good ton," caretaker Victoria coach Brad Hodge said of Pucovski's innings.

"He batted beautifully.

"The ball was seaming around and he copped a few knocks, but he looks in good touch.

"He doesn't look like he's missed a beat ... it looks like he's enjoying his cricket."

Nic Maddinson, also in his return match from an absence to deal with mental health issues, made 59 on day two, while skipper Peter Handscomb (54) departed in Sunday's opening session that produced just 64 runs.

The Blues's first innings ended shortly before lunch on day two, with Abbott (54), Larkin (50) and Nevill (50) all making half-centuries.

Peter Siddle (3-52) and James Pattinson (3-62) were the pick of the Victorian bowlers.

The hosts will be without Aaron Finch for the rest of the match after he was subbed out with a concussion suffered while fielding at short leg on Saturday.

He spent Sunday resting at home and is in some doubt for Victoria's clash with Western Australia at the MCG starting on Saturday.