Brad Haddin has mounted further pressure on Australia's selectors to win a Test recall after his batting purple patch continued for New South Wales against Queensland at Manuka Oval on Wednesday.
On a day where his teammates found quick runs hard to come by, Haddin's sparkling knock of 73 off 102 balls, and Steve Smith's unbeaten 90, put NSW in a commanding position after day two of the Sheffield Shield clash.
Haddin, 35, looked set for a third shield ton in as many matches before holing out to Cameron Gannon at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of off-spinner Nathan Hauritz.
At stumps, NSW was 6-291 in reply to Queensland's first innings of 243, with two days remaining.
Haddin has been in superb touch at first-class level since losing his Test wicketkeeping spot to Matthew Wade for Australia's series with South Africa.
He scored an unbeaten 108 against Victoria last week. He also smashed 114 in his previous appearance at shield level against Tasmania in late September.
Normally a rapid scorer, Smith was happy to play second fiddle to a determined Haddin intent on reclaiming his Test spot.
''He came out and was positive from the start, he always is when he's batting well,'' Smith said.
''Hadds was a little disappointed getting out - he would have liked to have got a hundred in his home town. He's batting brilliantly. He's obviously got lots of hunger. He wants to get back into that Aussie team and at the moment he's doing everything right.''
Smith is determined to rack up a century on Thursday to not only solidify the Blues' position, but end a frustrating run where he's failed to turn starts into big scores.
''I think I've been batting well all season. I guess I haven't converted as much as I would like, but there's no greater opportunity than tomorrow and hopefully I can get a big score,'' he said.
Resuming at 7-198 on day two, Queensland was dismissed for 243, with former Test paceman Doug Bollinger (4-57) the standout.
The Blues' run chase began poorly when Scott Henry was trapped in front by Luke Feldman for a duck. But a 74-run, second-wicket partnership between David Dawson (32) and Peter Nevill (55) allowed NSW to regain the ascendancy.
Queensland hit back to reduce NSW to 4-109, before Haddin and Smith combined for a 115-run, fifth-wicket partnership to ensure first-innings points.
The bottom-of-the-table Blues are desperate to resuscitate their finals hopes with outright points. A win would put them just seven-and-a-half points behind co-leaders Queensland and Victoria.