Dumped Test batsman Phil Hughes will have national selectors on high alert after smashing a double century for South Australia on day three of the Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Hughes posted a career-best 204 to guide the Redbacks to 4-520 at stumps and claim first-innings honours after the Warriors were bowled out for 434 on Thursday.
Former Redbacks skipper Michael Klinger (125) also scored a ton while Australian Under-19 representative Travis Head fell two runs shy of a maiden hundred.
The hosts, who started the day on 0-148, will take a 86-run lead heading into Saturday’s final day of play with Tom Cooper and Tim Ludeman at the crease on 33 and 12 respectively.
Hughes and Klinger got the Redbacks off to the perfect start as they combined for a 253-run partnership – the fourth-highest opening stand by South Australian batsmen in Shield cricket.
Elsewhere, Test opener Chris Rogers produced a double failure for Victoria in their match against Tasmania at Bellerive, his final warm-up for the Ashes series beginning next week.
Rogers was out for 11 in Victoria’s second innings after making just three in the first.
The 36-year-old came into the match in superb form after making 117 and 88 in his previous match against NSW.
But he played on and was bowled by a delivery from Tigers paceman Adam Maher late on day three to leave the visitors 1-33 at stumps on day three, a lead of 166.
Rob Quiney will resume on 19 with Peter Handscomb two.
Ashes squad members George Bailey and James Faulkner also got limited batting practice ahead of the series opener against England at the Gabba, which starts on Thursday.
Tigers captain Bailey, who will make his Test debut, made 37 and allrounder Faulkner just 14.
The Vics claimed first innings points but Tasmania narrowly avoided the follow-on when they were bowled out for a first innings 250.
In Brisbane, what is supposed to be a batsman’s paradise is becoming a nightmare for Queensland in their clash with New South Wales.
The Bulls again struggled to exploit Allan Border Field’s flat wicket, slumping to 5-113 at stumps on day three chasing an improbable 435 for victory.
NSW’s Test batsmen David Warner, Steven Smith and Brad Haddin will no doubt have fond memories of the small picturesque ground ahead of next week’s Ashes opener after each blew off rust by thrashing half-centuries in the match.
Warner (52) and Smith (69) helped the Blues blast 386 in their first dig before Haddin got stuck in with a 46-ball unbeaten 50 on Friday and declared the second innings at 8-270, setting up the mammoth target.
Meanwhile, England is no closer to finalising their pace attack for the first Test after day three of their tour match against an Invitational XI.
Veteran seamer Chris Tremlett appears the safe option and the front runner for Brisbane, but the merits of Steven Finn’s five-wicket first innings haul is sure to be debated by selectors.
England’s bowlers failed to fully impose themselves on day three in Sydney, with opener Aaron Finch smashing 59 from 60 balls as the Invitational XI went to stumps at 4-153 – a lead of 39.
Stuart Broad, Boyd Rankin, Graeme Swann and Finn took a wicket each, after Joe Root earlier posted 75 with the bat to power England’s first innings total to 418 – setting up a 114-run advantage at the change.
As England grafted away on Friday, wicketkeeper Matt Prior worked hard on the training park and in the gym to try to overcome his calf injury.
The Ashes holders’ other injury concerns seem less severe, although Kevin Pietersen (knee) and Alastair Cook (back) both spent time off the field.