Prospective coach Justin Langer may have been the talk of WA cricket over the last week, but it was another diminutive, left-handed opener who took centre stage on day one of the Warriors' Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia at the WACA.
Marcus Harris' season-best knock of 114 helped haul the hosts back from the brink at 3-60 shortly before lunch to reach 7-327 at stumps and put themselves in with a real chance of chalking up their first four-day victory of the season.
Having regularly played and missed against a naggingly-accurate Redbacks attack during a testing morning session, Harris' luck continued to hold when he was dropped by wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman shortly after lunch.
As the afternoon wore on, however, the 20-year-old became steadily more assured, hammering the majority of his 19 boundaries through mid-on and eventually reaching the second century of his fledgling career by driving Dan Christian to the long-off boundary two balls before tea.
It was the first time Harris had reached three figures since bursting onto the scene with a stunning 157 against Queensland back in March 2011, and a knock that would have brought a smile to the face of Langer with whom the promising youngster played grade cricket at local club Scarborough.
After winning the toss, the home side laboured to 3-68 during a 30-over first session, struggling to combat a lively Redbacks' bowling attack bursting with confidence following their first victory of the campaign against Tasmania.
Indeed, WA would have been in an even more precarious position at lunch had Michael Klinger not grassed regulation chances at first slip off the bowling of both Chadd Sayers and skipper Johan Botha to compound the life handed to Harris by Ludeman.
As it was, Liam Davis ran himself out needlessly for 4, Sam Whiteman made a scratchy 14 before edging the impressive Christian to Phil Hughes in the slip cordon and Marcus North struggled to a 40-ball innings of seven when he misjudged a slower delivery from Jake Haberfield and picked out Joe Mennie at mid-on.
As the Redbacks looked to press home their early advantage, however, Harris and new skipper Adam Voges dug in, displaying exactly the kind of resolve that has been conspicuous only by its absence during the Warriors' previous Sheffield Shield outings this season.
Voges' resistance ended three runs short of his half-century when Mennie sent him packing with the first ball after tea and with the score on 200, Harris finally followed suit as Ludeman made partial amends for his earlier error by taking the catch off Haberfield.
Sayers' first over with the new ball then signalled the end for Tom Triffitt as the WACA shadows began to lengthen, but to the visible frustration of Botha, both Mitch Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile posted quick-fire half-centuries to ensure WA took the day one honours.
First Posted 12 November, 2012 9:26PM AEST