Rob Quiney put his hand up for a spot in the first Test against South Africa with an impressive 85-run knock for Australia A against the touring side on Friday.
After winning the toss on the SCG green top, Australia A elected to bat and it was left-hander Quiney and fellow Test hopeful Steve Smith who dented South Africa's pace armoury with a 122-run stand.
Both were dismissed in quick succession though as Australia A slumped to 5-185 by tea on the first day of the three-day tour match before closing at stumps with 7-325.
Former Test opener Phil Hughes moved down to No.3 to accommodate Quiney, who more than took up the challenge with 85 from 114 balls before the world's top-ranked bowler Dale Steyn struck.
Smith also sent a subtle reminder to national selectors at No.5 with 67 before he was trapped lbw by spinner Imran Tahir, while Alex Doolan (76 not out) and Glenn Maxwell (64) almost made it to stumps together.
Quiney, who was given strong backing from Test great Shane Warne on Twitter as Australia's opener-in-waiting, could replace Ricky Ponting for the Gabba Test starting on November 9, after the former captain pulled out of Tasmania's Sheffield Shield match in Hobart on Friday with hamstring soreness.
Just a week out from the first Test against South Africa, Cricket Australia has insisted Ponting will be fit to play but further tests may conclude otherwise.
Earlier, Quiney's opening partner Liam Davis (10) was clean bowled by a Steyn gem before Hughes (five) let his opportunity slip and Andrew McDonald fell under Tahir's spell for a duck.
Quiney smashed 13 boundaries in his innings before Steyn enticed an edge and Smith lasted three more overs before he became Tahir's second lbw victim.
Doolan and Maxwell frustrated South Africa's attack with a 133-run stand but Maxwell was the last to go, becoming Steyn's third scalp four overs before stumps.
A nearly full-strength South Africa opted to rest all-rounder Jacques Kallis and quick Morne Morkel, neither of whom having played a Test since August.
Faf du Plessis and reserve bowler Rory Kleinveldt were selected in their place with the latter keen to stake his claim for a spot in what would be a four-man pace attack at the Gabba.
Kleinveldt (2-45) was almost as economical as Steyn but not quite as impressive as he collected a pair of wickets to Steyn's 3-43.
Vernon Philander had a forgettable day finishing with 0-76 from his 16 overs with Doolan and wicketkeeper Tim Paine (one not out) to resume at the crease on day two.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 02 November, 2012 6:23PM AEST