A career-first Sheffield Shield double-century beckons for Nic Maddinson, whose stunning turnaround in fortunes has him poised to make an unlikely charge back into Test calculations.
With national selector Trevor Hohns looking on at Junction Oval on Thursday, Maddinson continued his remarkable career resurgence to be unbeaten on 195, with young gun Will Pucovski also not out on 45 as Victoria stormed to 1-362 at stumps against South Australia on day one of the season-opener.
Maddinson belted 21 fours and four sixes on his way to a fourth century in six Shield matches for the Vics, who he joined after a bitter split with NSW last year.
Despite that rich vein of form, adding to the three Tests he played in 2016 isn't his sole focus.
"The ultimate goal is still to play Test cricket - I probably wasn't at my best when I had the opportunity," Maddinson said.
"But it's about doing what I can (for Victoria) ... if I can be the best Shield player I can be a never play for Australia again I'd be happy with that.
"That (mindset) has probably improved my batting.
"It's about not looking at a Test squad and thinking 'I've got to do this to be picked'. It's just about going out there and playing and that's something I've learnt getting a little bit older.
"I wasn't actually in (Victoria's) Shield team for the first game last year, so my goal for this year was just to play all 10 games.
"That's probably as far as it goes at the moment."
The 27-year-old, who had to overcome a broken arm and a fractured thumb last season, says a more mature, patient on-field outlook and a settled off-field situation has helped him reclaim his best form.
Maddinson shared a 220-run opening partnership with Marcus Harris, who is looking to maintain his hold on a Test opening spot.
After a lean Ashes series where he made just 58 runs from six innings, Harris gave his chances of retaining his spot at the top of Australia's batting order a shot in the arm with his innings of 116.
"Obviously I didn't make the runs I wanted to in the Ashes so I know full well that I have to make runs in these games before the team is selected," Harris said.
"Technically (that Test opener's spot) is mine at the moment, but I have to do quite well to make sure I'm the man there at the start of the series.
"A hundred in the first game is probably going to help a little bit."
Australian Associated Press