TAK­ING AIM AT GABBA TEST SPOT

Perry blooms with record Ashes knock

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - RUS­SELL GOULD BEN HORNE

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.

Cons:

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.

Cons:

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.

Cons:

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.”

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