Home » Marcus Harris’ record-breaking County Championship double-century sends reminder to Australian selectors

Marcus Harris’ record-breaking County Championship double-century sends reminder to Australian selectors

Leicestershire opener Marcus Harris has notched a record-breaking double-century in the County Championship to send a reminder to the Australian selectors of his prowess.

The 31-year-old clobbered 26 boundaries and two sixes during his classy 214 (303) against Derbyshire on Saturday, steering the Foxes towards 7-574 declared in the first innings. It was the highest individual score by a Leicestershire player at Derby in the competition’s 129-year history.

“It’s my first hundred since coming back to the club, so that’s been really nice,” Harris said at stumps.

“I feel like I’ve been batting quite well, without a big score in the first couple of games, so it was nice to do that today. It was a great day.”

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Marcus Harris of Leicestershire. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Harris, a late signing for Leicestershire following the withdrawal of Victorian teammate Will Pucvoski, was overlooked by national selectors after veteran opener David Warner retired from Test cricket in January, who instead elevated Steve Smith up the order. The New South Welshman struggled to validate the promotion, compiling 171 runs at 28.50 in four Tests against the West Indies and New Zealand.

Australia’s next Test assignment is the highly-anticipated Border-Gavaskar Trophy campaign against India on home soil, which gets underway in late November. Harris, who was dropped from the national contract list last month, could press his case for a long-awaited Test recall by continuing to pile on the runs in the County Championship and the first half of next summer’s Sheffield Shield.

The left-hander, who has represented Australia 14 times since his Test debut in 2018, endured a poor Sheffield Shield campaign by his own standards, accumulating 476 runs at 29.75 in nine matches for Victoria this summer.

However, having gotten his County Championship underway with a half-century during a rain-affected draw against Yorkshire at Headingley, Harris is currently averaging 83.25 in the first-class competition in a timely return to form.

On Saturday, he combined with teammate Peter Handscomb for a 153-run partnership for the fourth wicket before picking up the tempo after reaching triple figures, bringing up his double-hundred with a six.

“It felt different in a green shirt and with the (Leicestershire) fox on it, but otherwise it felt pretty normal batting with Pete,” Harris smiled.

“We’ve had some good partnerships over our time, myself and Pete, so it was good to have another good one today. He was batting beautifully.”

Harris, eventually bowled by Derbyshire seamer Pat Brown 36 runs short of his career-best score, was dropped on three occasions throughout his seven-hour marathon, with Wayne Madsen putting down two catches in the slips cordon on Friday before wicketkeeper Brooke Guest spilt a chance the following afternoon.

Chasing a 425-run target to avoid following on, Derbyshire slumped to 4-54 at stumps on day two, still trailing by 520 runs.

Elsewhere in the County Championship, Australian Test spinner Nathan Lyon claimed 2-65 from 24 overs during Lancashire’s contest against Essex at Chelmsford, while Somerset’s Matthew Renshaw scored 34 against Nottinghamshire in Taunton.