Marcus Harris took a big step towards cementing a spot in the Ashes touring party, striking 141 to put Victoria in a strong position against NSW.

It was the 26-year-old’s third ton of the Shield season and extended his lead as top run scorer for the 2018/19 competition.

The opening batsman was the rock of the Bushrangers’ innings, sharing important stands with fellow opener Travis Dean (23) and Matthew Short (34).

Harris, who appears locked in a three-way battle to open for Australia in England with Joe Burns and David Warner, struck 17 boundaries in his 229-ball knock.

At stumps on day one, Victoria was 6-266, with James Pattinson not out 11 and Chris Tremain undefeated on 13.

Harris brought up his 11th first-class century early in the final session with a single off his pads after he capitalised on a life when dropped on 71.

The former WA batsman finally succumbed late in the day to the second new ball when he edged to Trent Copeland in the slips off Sean Abbott.

Remarkably, it was Harris’ third century in a Shield final after triple-figure scores in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 deciders for the triumphant Victorians.