It is arguably the biggest round of Sheffield Shield cricket for a generation with potentially up to seven spots up for grabs in Australia's Test team for the third Test.
Report & Highlights: Handscomb, Dean punish NSW at the SCG
Report & Highlights: Khawaja, Renshaw ton up at the Gabba
Report & Highlights: Turner fires after Voges retires hurt
The incumbent Test XI, minus pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Joe Mennie, have all been sent back to the domestic competition in an effort to help them rediscover much-needed form and confidence after their series defeat to South Africa.
They will be joined by a host of young stars eager to push their case, with coach Darren Lehmann indicating mass changes are on the cards for the clash with the Proteas in Adelaide.
While Shaun (finger) and Mitchell Marsh (shoulder) played the opening Test against South Africa in Perth, both are now unavailable for selection due to injury. Here's how the Test incumbents, and the challengers, fared on day one.
Joe Burns (4) - had a horror day at the Gabba, caught down the leg side for 4 in almost identical fashion to his dismissal in the second innings of the Hobart Test. Since posting 130 in the opening innings of the Shield season, Burns has added scores of 30, 4, 7, 1, 0 and 4 in a worrying patch of form ahead of the third Test.
David Warner (dnb) - had a long day in the field as Victoria's batsmen thrived at the SCG. The vice-captain is one of four certainties for the third Test, but has to wait for his chance to gather some Shield runs to boost his confidence.
Usman Khawaja (106) - continued his good recent form with an innings of 106 for Queensland that has almost certainly assured his place in the third Test.
Steve Smith (dnb) - like Warner, the Aussie skipper had a long day in the field as Victoria's batsmen flourished at the SCG. Given his form in the Hobart Test, you'd expect Smith to be in the runs when he gets a chance to bat.
Adam Voges (16 retired hurt) - a terrible day for Voges, who made 16 for WA before being ruled out of the match with concussion after being struck a nasty blow on the helmet in Perth. It is the second serious concussion in the past six months for the 37 year old after a freak accident in English county cricket. Having posted scores of 27, 1, 0 and 2 so far in the series against the Proteas, the veteran's spot in the team is on shaky ground.
Callum Ferguson (dnb) - the Hobart debutant didn't get a chance to bat on day one in Brisbane and will be desperate to notch a big score and push for another chance in the Test side. Having posted scores of 3 and 1 on debut, all eyes will be on him when the Redbacks' innings gets underway.
Peter Nevill (1 catch, dnb) - took a sharp catch early in the day to send a reminder of his quality with the gloves, but the incumbent keeper-batsman will be desperate for runs as he seeks to end speculation about his place in the Test XI.
Nathan Lyon (0-88) - the off-spinner had another tough day with the ball, finishing with 0-88 from 27 overs. After a disappointing tour of Sri Lanka, Lyon has taken just four wickets in three-and-a-half first-class matches this summer.
New South Wales
Moises Henriques (dnb, 0-27)
Recent form: 8, 41, 28, 11, 4, 4, 14, 25, 8, 145 (288 at 28.80)
The allrounder, who batted at No.5 in Australia’s third Test against Sri Lanka in August, bowled six wicketless overs on Thursday as Victoria's batsmen flourished.
Nic Maddinson (dnb)
Recent form: 0, 116, 81, 40, 6, 0, 0, 20, 27, 46 (336 at 33.60)
Known more for his power-hitting than his deft touch, Maddinson struck a patient century against Western Australia on a turning wicket in the Blues' last Sheffield Shield match and he will be hoping for more when NSW bat against Victoria.
Kurtis Patterson (dnb)
Recent form: 13, 60, 38, 111, 25, 50*, 92, 6, 74, 21 (490 runs at 54.44)
The 23-year-old didn't bat on Thursday but has put his name in the frame with a sparkling 111 in a star-studded Shield clash against Queensland in the opening round. The left-hander has already shown an ability to adapt to the next level, having become the youngest batsman to score a hundred in Sheffield Shield history with his 157 on debut in 2011.
Steve O'Keefe (1-65)
Recent form: 31 wickets at 14.93 (past 10 bowling innings)
Back in Shield cricket after recovering from finger and hamstring injuries, O'Keefe took one of just two wickets to fall at the SCG, having Marcus Stoinis caught at slip for 11.
Matt Renshaw (108)
Recent form: 108, 94, 25, 22, 10, 39, 20, 5, 31, 49 (403 at 40.30)
English-born and a childhood friend of Joe Root, Renshaw has already made a name for himself as a solid left-handed opener who can soak up time as well as find the boundary. His 108 on Thursday was his third first-class century in just his 12th match.
Travis Head (dnb, 0-35)
Recent form: 43, 66, 2, 54, 1, 21, 192, 134, 0, 44 (557 at 55.70)
The Redbacks captain wasn't required to bat on Thursday, but has been one of the stars of Shield cricket in the past few seasons and has already earned a place in Australia's ODI side.
Jake Lehmann (dnb)
Recent form: 129*, 29, 116, 31, 58, 35*, 58, 35, 5, 46 (542 at 67.75)
The son of coach Darren, Lehmann wasn't required to bat on Thursday but is in hot form and has impressed in his short first-class career to date.
Chadd Sayers (0-65)
Recent form: 26 wickets at 15.27 (past 10 bowling innings)
One of the leading bowlers in Shield cricket over the past few years, Sayers kept things tight but failed to land a blow at the Gabba, finishing the day with 0-65 from 25 overs, including six maidens.
George Bailey (dnb)
Recent form: 142*, 6, 47, 64, 110*, 37, 4, 71, 62, 58 (601 at 75.12)
The Tasmanian veteran with five Tests to his name, Bailey has been in red-hot first-class form this year for both Tasmania and English county side Middlesex, while he remains a vital part of Australia's ODI team. He wasn't required to bat on day one in Perth.
Jackson Bird (2-60)
Recent form: 20 wickets at 30.00 (past 10 bowling innings)
Australia's 12th man in Hobart, Bird did his chances of a recall no harm by taking 2-60 from 18 overs, including three maidens, as Tasmania bowled WA out for 262
Travis Dean (134*)
Recent form: 134*, 0, 17, 26, 0, 1, 0, 54, 111, 0 (384 runs at 38.11)
The surprise packet of last domestic summer, Dean is a compact opener who prides himself on batting for long periods of time, and notched his fourth first-class century on Thursday, in just his 16th match.
Peter Handscomb (110*)
Recent form: 110*, 60, 78, 10, 87, 24, 137, 4, 14, 61* (585 at 73.12)
A highly-rated 25-year-old, Handscomb starred with the bat as captain of Australia A during the winter and posted an unbeaten 110 against NSW on Thursday, his ninth first-class century.
Glenn Maxwell (dnb)
Recent form: 81, 13, 38, 0, 63, 79, 26, 62, 18*, 0 (380 at 42.22)
Contentiously left out of Victoria’s Shield opener, Maxwell returned to the Bushrangers XI for their win over Queensland and struck 81 in his only hit for the match. He'll be hoping for more when Victoria's innings resumes on Friday.
Marcus Stoinis (11)
Recent form: 11, 4, 0, 2, 22, 14, 120, 72, 35, 16 (296 at 29.60)
A powerful batting allrounder who’s played a pair of limited-overs internationals for Australia, Stoinis made just 11 against the Blues before he was caught at slip off the bowling of Steve O'Keefe.
Matthew Wade (dnb)
Recent form: 3, 78, 26, 14, 2*, 25, 23, 21, 11, 41* (244 at 30.50)
The Bushrangers captain will have to wait his turn to make his mark after Handscomb and Dean batted the majority of the day at the SCG. With 12 Tests to his name and incumbent ‘keeper Peter Nevill under pressure to keep his spot, Wade will be determined to put some runs on the board in Victoria’s clash with arch-rivals NSW.
Ashton Agar (injured)
Recent form: 35, 15, 33, 6, 7, 0, 106, 4, 23, 10 (239 at 23.90)
Any chance the allrounder had of a late call-up was seemingly ended when he was ruled out of WA’s Shield clash with Tasmania due to a calf injury. Agar starred for the Warriors in their previous match, taking 10-141 on a turning SCG track, the second 10-wicket haul of his career.
Cameron Bancroft (2)
Recent form: 2, 6, 22, 17, 20, 58*, 10, 32*, 28, 71 (266 at 33.25)
The WA opener was in such hot form two summers ago that he was elevated into Australia's Test squad for the postponed tour of Bangladesh. But with Burns under pressure to hold his place in the Test side, Bancroft could manage only 2 on Thursday to go with scores of 22, 6, 20 and 17 this season.
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