Tasmanian batsman Alex Doolan had the best seat in the house as Ricky Ponting rekindled his love affair with the MCG against Victoria.
Ponting was unbeaten on 89 as Tasmania went to stumps at 3-315 after being sent in to bat on the first day of their Sheffield Shield clash against the top-of-the-table Bushrangers.
The Test legend wasn't the only Tiger to hit form against a powerful Vics attack, with Doolan himself topscoring on Tuesday with 95.
The 26-year-old hit 13 boundaries and was poised to notch his second consecutive century until Peter Siddle found a way through his defence with the second new ball.
After back spasms dogged his 2011/12 campaign, the Launceston product is enjoying his best start to a summer, highlighted by his 149 against South Australia earlier this month.
"I had pretty tough season, working physically to get my back in order. I have also changed my batting technique a little bit to make sure I was ready for first-class cricket," Doolan said.
"I didn't think that I would have the start that I have had so far. My goal is just to keep making runs for Tassie. There are a lot of guys knocking on the door. Holding onto your spot in the team is tough at the moment," he said.
Doolan said sharing a 151-run stand for the third wicket with Ponting was a thrill.
"While you are out there it doesn't really seem that real at times. But I had the best seat in the house, standing at the other end watching him play some beautiful shots," he said.
"It's something that you don't really think about until the day is over and you have had a partnership of 100-plus."
Doolan also praised Ponting's Test team-mate Ed Cowan after the patient opener scored 42 from 135 deliveries, but more importantly took the shine off the new ball against the like of Test quicks
James Pattinson and Peter Siddle during the morning session.
"We all know the quality of Ed Cowan and how he bats for the team. For him to sacrifice (his own) run-scoring opportunities to make sure he is there to take the shine off the ball for the rest of us is a selfless act and something the rest of the team really appreciates.
"To be able to come in at 1-90 is a terrific for a number three."
Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd admitted bowling first was the wrong call.
"We were patchy with our bowling and I certainly mis-read the wicket," Shipperd said.
"We thought there was a bit of moisture in the wicket. It was probably a bit slower than we anticipated and it played really well."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 23 October, 2012 9:56PM AEST