Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell have slipped up in their final Ashes audition as wickets tumbled on day one of the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and Tasmania.
Incumbent Test wicketkeeper Wade was dismissed for five off 42 balls as Tasmania was bowled out for 172 at the MCG.
Events took an unexpected turn in Monday’s final session with Tasmanian right-arm quick Gabe Bell ripping through Victoria’s top order to leave the Vics reeling at 4-25 off six overs.
Marcus Harris (61) and Daniel Christian (28) then steadied the ship with an unbeaten 78-run stand as Victoria went to stumps at 4-103.
Playing in just his fourth first-class game, 22-year-old Bell had Maxwell (four) caught behind attempting to drive a delivery which swung away from the right-hander.
Test batsman Peter Handscomb, caught at second slip, and Aaron Finch, trapped lbw, both made ducks as Bell (4-22) claimed wickets from each of his first three overs.
Tasmanian skipper George Bailey earlier made a gallant 106 but was one of only three Tigers batsmen to reach double figures.
Wade fell in the third over after lunch on Monday attempting to play a pull shot to a Peter Siddle delivery which pitched on middle-and-off and rocketed into his stumps.
His rash dismissal was the latest in a series of poor batting performances which do not bode well for his Ashes prospects.
“I thought Scotty Boland just bowled a really good spell to him (before lunch) and gave him nothing,” Bailey said of Wade.
“Coming out after lunch, you’d like something to get you going and you’ve got Peter Siddle, who’s pretty miserly as well.
“No doubt that dot-ball pressure built on him. The shot he played probably wasn’t there.”
National selectors may be unwilling to risk playing a batsman who has averaged just 20 since his Test recall last summer.
The Ashes squad will be named on Friday with NSW’s Peter Nevill tipped to get the nod ahead of Wade.
Nevill snared three catches, including an impressive diving effort to dismiss Joe Burns off the bowling of Doug Bollinger, in the opening session of NSW’s Shield clash with Queensland.
Maxwell is locked in a race for the No.6 Test spot with Western Australia’s Hilton Cartwright.
The medium pace-bowling allrounder made 35 for the Warriors on Monday in their Shield clash with South Australia.
Maxwell was the better-performed of the two in the previous round, scoring 60 and 64 compared to Cartwright’s pair of ducks.