Glenn Maxwell’s Ashes fate is likely to be out of his hands after Tasmania dug their heels in against Victoria in the Sheffield Shield.
Alex Doolan (107 not out) and Jake Doran (35) faced a combined 324 balls as Tasmania crawled to 1-180 at stumps on day two, leading Victoria by 208 runs in their second innings.
It was a frustrating day for Victoria and especially for Maxwell, who was denied the chance to make one last big score that could cement his case for Ashes selection.
National selectors will meet in Brisbane on Wednesday to pick Australia’s side for the first two Ashes Tests, with intrigue surrounding who will be picked to bat at No.6.
Maxwell has the advantage of incumbency, the backing of several former greats and a recent Test century to his name.
But if the 29-year-old wasn’t already nervous about his prospects, Cameron Bancroft’s undeniable 228 not out for Western Australia would likely have done the trick.
It is increasingly difficult to see how selectors could overlook the highly-rated Bancroft after his barnstorming Shield campaign.
What is less clear is whether he would come in at No.6 or replace out-of-form opener Matt Renshaw.
Former Test batsman Brad Hodge on Tuesday said Maxwell had shown he could thrive under adversity and deserved to finally wear the baggy green on home soil.
“I definitely think he’s got the technique to come in at 4-100 when Australia’s under pressure,” Hodge said.
“That’s the one thing people need to clarify. It’s not coming in at 4-270 when you’re already in front, it’s coming in under pressure, and that’s one of the things selectors will probably look at.”