Haddin's belief bolstered
New South Wales 442 (Henriques 161*, Haddin 114) and 6 for 198 declared (Maddinson 86, Henriques 50*, Bird 3-46) drew with Tasmania 8 for 298 declared (Cosgrove 84, Butterworth 65*, Bollinger 3-60) and 7 for 262 (Blizzard 88, Henriques 3-41)
Brad Haddin's self-confidence will be back at the level required to perform for Australia in Test matches following his strong showing for New South Wales in their Sheffield Shield draw with Tasmania, Australia's captain Michael Clarke believes.
Having missed a handful of international assignments this year in order to spend time with his seriously ill daughter Mia, Haddin is far from certain to be recalled as Australia's Test gloveman for the first home match of the summer against South Africa at the Gabba in November.
But a first innings century and 186 overs of near spotless glovework, all under the watch of selectors Rod Marsh and Clarke, ensured Haddin made a strong case for his recall ahead of Matthew Wade in what is likely to be his final first-class fixture before the South Africa series. Haddin is now scheduled to lead the Sydney Sixers to the Twenty20 Champions League.
"I've seen Brad batting in the nets, watched him bat in Perth and I thought he was hitting the ball really well, so I didn't think he was far off a big score," Clarke said. "Most of all it is nice for Brad to make a score like that for himself. He's been working really hard, he's missed a fair bit of cricket of late, so it is a little reward for the hard work he's been putting in, and in his own mind it re-confirms that he's certainly still batting good enough to be successful in first-class cricket and to play at the highest level."
Haddin completed four dismissals for the match on the final afternoon, including the decidedly smart stumping of Alex Doolan from Trent Copeland's medium pace. The Blues and the Tigers kept each other at arm's length for much of the final day, Clarke setting a target that always seemed just out of Tasmania's reach, while the pitch had not deteriorated enough to allow the hosts a chance of the quick wickets they needed to secure victory.
Aiden Blizzard made an important contribution to the team as he seeks a regular place in a career that has seen him shunted from Victoria and South Australia to Tasmania, striking the ball attractively through the offside on his way to 88. But his innings was terminated amid a burst of three wickets for six runs that ended any lingering Tasmanian hopes of a successful chase.
Two of those wickets fell to Moises Henriques, an undisputable man of the match for 161*, 50* and 3 for 41 on the final day. Clarke said Henriques' efforts in the Blues first two Shield matches had underlined his potential, and hoped the allrounder would go on to the sort of dominant domestic season that would vault him into Australian colours.
"I've known Moises for a long time, he certainly knows how I feel about him as a player and his talent, he's as gifted as anyone I've seen in the first-class arena," Clarke said. "He's been with NSW for a long time, and this year is an opportunity for Moises to stand up, he's a senior player in the squad and he needs to lead by example, and he's done that so far this year."
As for Clarke, the match ends a brief but productive stint as NSW captain, with the Blues not engaging in another Shield fixture until the week before the first Test. Clarke will now undergo a personal "boot camp" to get his fitness up to the level required for Tests, before making a rare club appearance for Western Suburbs in Sydney grade competition.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here