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Doolan knocks on Test door

Date

Daniel Lane

Alex Doolan celebrates his century.

Alex Doolan celebrates his century. Photo: Anthony Johnson

AFTER scoring an unconquered 161 against South Africa at the SCG on Saturday, Australia A batsman Alex Doolan hoped his innings would warrant some discussion when the national selectors met before this week's opening Test in Brisbane.

With concerns surrounding Test players Shane Watson (calf muscle) and Ricky Ponting (hamstring) and a string of poor scores from Australia's top batsmen, the 26-year-old Tasmanian picked the perfect moment to play the innings of his 35 first-class match career.

The century came on the back of a stellar start to the season that has now yielded him 490 runs at an average of 81. But his effort to post his highest score - and against a world-class South African attack - was the highlight of a tough day that resulted in only one legitimate wicket falling after almost seven hours of toil by both teams.

''I certainly hoped it's talked about,'' said Doolan when asked if the knock might've caught the attention of the Test selectors.

''But there's plenty of quality players in that dressing room. I mean, Phil Hughes has 19 first-class centuries, three Test centuries and two against South Africa. I think he'd be in the firing line as far as next man in. Who knows? Hopefully, it puts my name up there and, hopefully, people are starting to talk.''

Doolan, whose father Bruce faced the first ball for Tasmania when the state joined the Sheffield Shield competition in 1977, said he wouldn't disappoint his country should his greatest wish be fulfilled.

''I feel there's a little bit of work to be done before that chance may arise,'' he said. ''But certainly, [I] feel confident enough to hold my own out there.''

Doolan resumed his innings on 76 and immediately made an impact when he hit paceman Dale Steyn for 10 runs in the first over of the morning.

While on 88 he tried to pull out of a shot against Rory Kleinveldt's bowling but the ball still raced to the boundary after it found the toe of his bat. He notched his fifth first-class century when he cut Kleinveldt sweetly for four.

''Probably coming to terms with the fact you were playing against the world's best team was my biggest battle and overcoming some nerves to a certain extent,'' he replied when asked about the greatest challenge of the knock.

Steyn was rested after only four overs when it became clear the pitch offered the pacemen nothing. Skipper Graeme Smith ultimately left the bulk of the work to his spin bowlers.

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