Mixed Shield fortunes for Ashes aspirants

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Nic Maddinson sent Test selectors a timely reminder of his capabilities as fellow Ashes hopeful Marcus Harris stumbled in his latest audition during Victoria's Sheffield Shield clash with NSW.

Harris was out for one but Maddinson (128) and James Seymour (105) both posted centuries on day one at the MCG, guiding the home side to a strong position after they were sent in to bat.

Victoria will resume at 6-283 on Saturday with James Pattinson and Will Sutherland new arrivals at the crease, after a late NSW fightback led by Nathan Lyon and Liam Hatcher.

The Blues are operating one bowler short after former Test quick Trent Copeland suffered an ankle injury in the fifth over of the match.

Harris gave his Ashes chances a boost with a century in the season opener last week but lasted just 14 balls on Friday as he registered his second single-figure total in three innings.

The inconsistent form has cast some doubt over his place in Australia's Test side amid a selection battle with the likes of Usman Khawaja and Travis Head, while young gun Will Pucovski continues his recovery from a 10th concussion.

Pucovski's ongoing unavailability has opened the Shield door for Seymour and he grabbed his chance with both hands, posting his maiden first-class century in his fourth knock at the level.

Maddinson - named man of the match in the season opener - was most impressive, stroking 14 fours and a six in 206 balls to give Test selectors something to consider.

The 29-year-old remains hopeful of a recall after playing his three previous Test matches in 2016.

"That's the motivation, for sure, so it's just about doing the job when I get the chance," Maddinson said.

"It would've been nice to be still there and push on to make a really big score, but a hundred is a hundred."

Lyon (2-47) eventually removed both Maddinson and Seymour as Hatcher (3-81) helped the Test offspinner breathe some life into NSW late in the day.

Copeland took the new ball but managed just 15 deliveries before limping off the field, leaving Lyon, Hatcher and Sean Abbott (1-74) to shoulder the bulk of the workload, with Jack Edwards and Jason Sangha pitching in.

"To lose one of your main bowlers certainly hurts," NSW coach Phil Jaques said.

"We're hopeful of (Copeland) being able to bowl second innings.

"He's had it in ice most of the day and he's an ultimate professional, so he'll have a crack."

More than 500 spectators filed through the MCG gates on Friday as the famous ground welcomed fans back for the first time since Melbourne's COVID-19 lockdown was lifted last month.

Crowds were last seen at the MCG in July, when restricted-capacity attendances were allowed at AFL matches.

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