Incumbent Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and his predecessor Peter Nevill found form with the bat on Saturday, each hitting match-winning centuries in Premier Cricket.
A host of Ashes hopefuls turned out for their club sides this weekend in a rare opportunity for some of Australia’s leading lights to play Premier Cricket.
Wade, who moved back to his native Tasmania over the winter, turned out for Clarence for the first time in a decade and marked his return to his junior club with a quick-fire ton against New Town.
The left-hander smashed five sixes in his knock of 111, firing Clarence - who Wade made his first XI debut for as a 14-year-old – to 5-319 from their 50 overs with former NSW batsman Ben Rohrer (101) also chalking up a century.
Clarence ran out 71-run victors at Kangaroo Bay Oval as New Town were bowled out for 248 in the 48th over.
Nevill, who’s expected to be Wade’s main competition for the Test ‘keeping position come the first Test against England on November 23, bettered that mark with an unbeaten 130 off 166 balls on the second day of a two-day match against Hawkesbury in NSW Premier Cricket.
Playing for Eastern Suburbs, Nevill put on 178 for the first wicket with Blues teammate Nic Maddinson (94) before leading the Dolphins to a seven-wicket victory as they reeled in their target of 332 in just 65.2 overs.
Both Wade and Nevill will get a further chance to impress when the JLT Sheffield Shield season commences on Thursday, with three rounds of the four-day game scheduled before the Ashes-opener.
The news wasn't as good for dynamic batsman Glenn Maxwell, who managed only six for reigning Victorian Premier Cricket champions Fitzroy-Doncaster in their defeat to Footscray at Merv Hughes Oval.
Maxwell, Australia’s incumbent No.6, struck his maiden Test century against India in Ranchi earlier this year but is expected to battle it out with the likes of Hilton Cartwright and Shaun Marsh for that spot in what appears to be an open field ahead of the Ashes.
Queensland pair Usman Khawaja (Valley District CC) and Matthew Renshaw (Toombul) were set to play for their respective sides but heavy rain in Brisbane put paid to their hopes of an extra hit before the Shield competition gets underway.