TAKING AIM AT GABBA TEST SPOT
Perry blooms with record Ashes knock
GLENN MAXWELL (VIC) Pros:
The incumbent, scored a Test century in tough conditions in Ranchi this year. Batted both conservatively and dynamically as required with twin half-centuries last week.
Being pigeon-holed as a subcontinental specialist may hurt. Hasn’t gone on with good starts in Shield outings.
Cons: HILTON CARTWRIGHT (WA) Pros:
Selectors love him, they see potential and keep wanting to give him a go, even when he doesn’t seem to deserve it. Bowls medium pace when needed, even though he doesn’t like to.
Two blobs against NSW’s all-Aussie pace attack last weekend is not the form that should elevate anyone to a Test team.
GLENN Maxwell has been talking like a Test batsman this summer.
He should be too, because many think he is.
The incumbent Test No.6 is, for some, the man Australian selectors should go with again, at least for the start of the Ashes, when the squad is named on Friday after the final of three Sheffield Shield audition rounds concludes.
To many, Maxwell is an enigma, the man shadowed by the “Big Show” nickname, renowned for his trickshot abilities more than his undoubted skill as a batsman.
But Maxwell has a Test century to his credit now, scored on a dust bowl pitch in Ranchi, with national captain Steve Smith at the other end.
His past two Test innings, in Ban-
JAKE LEHMANN (SA) Pros:
Making his runs at the right time and in fine style. Scored plenty last summer, proving he’s not just the flavour of the month. Can score quickly, which can work at No.6.
Failed twice to open the Shield season against the swinging pink ball and the English seamers can move the red ball a fair bit too.
gladesh, were nothing to shy away from, a 38 and a 25 not out, and he was there for the winning runs in the second Test in Chittagong.
Now 29, Maxwell has matured, as a man and a batsman, and his tone after dual half-centuries, scores of 60 and 64 for Victoria against South Australia last week, smacked of a player determined to keep his position and going on with it too.
“The next ball is my focus, making sure I am concentrating, staying tight with my defence,” he said.
“If they bowl a good ball, I have to be good enough to keep it out. I think that is the main thing, making sure I forget what has gone before, concentrating on the next ball every time.
“When teams are bowling well and straight and giving no width, it’s about making sure you get through those spells and making sure they MASTERCLASS: Star allrounder Ellyse Perry celebrates her maiden hundred in the Ashes Test. Picture: Getty Images ELLYSE Perry last night cemented her place as one of Australian cricket’s biggest stars, smashing a record double century to put the Southern Stars on top in the daynight Ashes Test.
Perry put on a masterclass in front of a buzzing North Sydney Oval crowd, hammering out the first hundred of her international career before surging on to post a matchturning 213 not out, the highest ever score by an Australian.
SHAUN MARSH (WA) Pros:
Told to go back to WA and make runs, he made more than anyone in the domestic oneday competition. Made 91 to open his four-day summer – against the pink ball.
Had plenty of chances, was dropped after the tour of India and he is now 34. Has just three scores of more than 50 in 10 Tests in Australia.
bowl their second and third spells to you.
“I have the ability to score quickly at stages but I think the way I’ve been playing recently, I’ve been more concentrating on just playing good cricket shots and making sure that I’m there for a longer period of time.”
Depending on who you talk to in cricket circles, Maxwell is either a certainty to hold his spot, or no chance at all.
Selectors do not really have a reason to drop him but they have, along with Smith, made it clear the No.6 batting position is “up for grabs”. Make runs and you could be in. South Australia’s Jake Lehmann, son of national coach Darren, has done that at exactly the right time.
A hundred and a 93 against Victoria threw his name up in lights, despite two failures in the opening round of the Sheffield Shield against a swinging pink ball. The English bowlers can swing it a bit.
Lehmann Jr is a swashbuckler though, like his old man, and there is plenty to like about him.
He has the support of his state skipper too, even though Travis Head is pretty well credentialed himself to have a shot at No.6.
“He played extremely well last year and it’s great to see him keep putting his name forward,” Head said of Lehmann. “I’d like to see him picked. (Selectors want) in-form batters, and he’s basically got a hundred in both innings.”
Regardless, Lehmann is just one hopeful in the queue.
Hilton Cartwright, veteran Shaun Marsh and Daniel Hughes are the others vying for the contentious position.
Perry, the dual-international phenomenon and only Australian to ever represent her country at a World Cup in two different sports, had never got to triple figures, despite 28 half-centuries.
She lifted Australia from early crisis to a powerful position of 9-448 declared on day three, setting up a commanding 168-run lead for the hosts with a day to play.
By stumps that advantage was down to 128, with England 0-40.
Perry was down to her last batting partner, Megan Schutt (1no), when she drilled a four straight down the ground to become only the fourth Australian in history to notch a double ton, before going on to eclipsed Karen Rolton’s 209no in 2001 as the all-time high by an Aussie.
“It was fun. I think that’s probably the best way to describe it,” Perry said last night.
“I had an amazing time out there today batting with all the girls.
“More than anything I think what’s been the biggest thrill of my career has been the people who have come to this match and the atmosphere that has been created.
“I think we’ve certainly got the upper hand now.
“It would have been really nice to take some wickets (last night) but they’ve got a long day of batting ahead.
“The wicket is starting to break up a bit, getting a bit slower, and I suppose the pressure is back on them.
“It’s certainly in our hands to win but we’ve got a lot of hard work to do it.”