New South Wales v Tasmania, Pura Cup, Sydney, 2nd day December 20, 2003

Bevan's class comes to the fore

New South Wales 4 for 255 (Bevan 110*, Katich 53) trail Tasmania 322 (Dighton 69, Clingeleffer 53, Mason 51, Lee 5-124) by 67 runs
Scorecard



Michael Bevan reaches his hundred
© Getty Images

A Michael Beavan hundred put New South Wales in a solid position at the end of the seocnd day of their Pura Cup match against Tasmania at the SCG. Bevan hit an unbeaten 110 to guide NSW to 4 for 255 in reply to Tasmania's first innings of 322.

As debate rages over whether Martin Love, Michael Clarke, Darren Lehmann or Brad Hodge should replace Steve Waugh in the Australian Test team next summer, Bevan proved he remained one of the most prolific batsmen in the country.

He's never even mentioned as a Test candidate these days, but with an average of 76 in the Pura Cup last season, a wealth of international one-day experience, more than 9,000 first-class runs, renowned calmness under pressure and limitless ambition, his claims are probably as good as anyone's.

Supposedly suspect against the short ball, Bevan pulled a bouncer from the sharpish Andrew Downton to reach his 59th first-class century. It was his 25th first-class ton at the SCG, three more than Sir Donald Bradman and Alan Kippax.

Still a regular in the Australian limited-overs side, Bevan said at the start of the season he hadn't given up hope of wearing the baggy green cap again. He's probably on the wrong side of 30 years of age, though. While Steve Rixon, NSW's coach, can count on Bevan in a mini-crisis, he must be pulling his hair out over Mark Waugh.

Waugh, having one last season before retirement, came up with another frustratingly short but sweet innings when his side needed something more substantial. Blessed with all the natural talent in the world and a long and illustrious Test career, Waugh was expected to be a force to be reckoned with as NSW attempted to defend the Cup this season.

Arriving at the crease at 3 for 99, Waugh got off the mark first ball with a trademark flick off his legs to the fence, then peeled off four more quick boundaries to reach 20 in a hurry. He didn't have a hair out of place. But on 28, when he was making it all look so easy, he missed a seemingly innocuous ball from medium-pacer Adam Griffith to be clean bowled.

NSW were rescued from the perils of 2 for 29 by Simon Katich (53) and Bevan in a 70-run partnership. Bevan and Waugh put on 61, then Bevan and Dominic Thornely conspired to put on 95 runs late in the day.

Brett Lee finished with 5 for 124 from 30 overs in a promising effort ahead of his certain Test recall next week. Rightly or wrongly, there's little hope of Bevan joining him.

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