Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria ended in a tame draw at a wet MCG yesterday but the few fans in attendance were able to glimpse both an all-time great and a rising star.
Tasmania resumed on 0-6 and reached 2-165, an overall lead of 284, before play was called off at 5.17pm because of rain.
Australia’s leading Test runscorer Ricky Ponting and stylish young No.3 Alex Doolan were both unbeaten on 60.
They shared an unbroken stand of 123 for the third wicket after putting on 151 in the first innings when Ponting compiled a memorable 162 not out and Doolan posted a fine 95. Only 48.5 overs overs of play were possible yesterday.
The 37-year-old Ponting has scored 350 Shield runs at an average of 175.00 in three Shield games to top the coring table ahead of Doolan (330 at 82.50).
Doolan was named on Friday in the Australia A side to play against South Africa at the SCG on November 2-4 and the 26-year-old says taking on Victoria’s Test quicks James Pattinson (2-24) and Peter Siddle (0-30) in Tasmania’s second innings was excellent preparation.
“I’m very proud to have had some good partnerships with Ricky,” Doolan said.
“It’s good to bat in the middle with him. It’s a chance you may not get again.”
Doolan said he received a text message on Friday morning to announce his Australia A selection.
Asked about facing South African speedster Dale Steyn, Doolan said he had watched him plenty of times on TV.
“It’s exciting (to be playing against South Africa), don’t get me wrong, but the Vics and Australian cricket have got some really good fast bowlers,” Doolan said.
“Hopefully the step up isn’t too big, but I’m sure there’ll be some butterflies.”
Tasmania captain George Bailey said Doolan appeared to have plenty of time to play his shots, as well as being classically and technically correct.
“When those two were going together (Doolan and Ponting), he didn’t look outclassed,” Bailey said.
Victoria remain on top with 12 points from three matches while Tasmania, NSW and Queensland are four points behind. Allrounder Andrew McDonald, who made 64 in Victoria’s first innings, will captain the Australia A side.
McDonald, who played four Tests in 2009, said he was thrilled to be back under consideration for baggy green honours.
“Everyone’s a live candidate depending on what happens at the next level,” said McDonald, who has scored 165 Shield runs at 82.50. If the (Test) team does well, there’s no door open.”