New South Wales 7 for 254 (Smith 76, Starc 43) v Western Australia

Australia's captain Steven Smith brushed off early season batting cobwebs before Peter Nevill gave himself the chance to push for an Ashes wicketkeeping berth as New South Wales forged a competitive score after being sent in to bat by Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield match at Hurstville Oval.

Though the ground's dimensions are small, the pitch itself was well-grassed and promoted the visiting captain Mitchell Marsh to send Smith's men in first. David Warner and Nic Maddinson both fell early on, before Smith was aided by Kurtis Patterson in building a platform for the Blues under cloudy skies. At one point Smith tweaked his back when he slipped taking a run, necessitating stretching exercises with the NSW physio, but after play he insisted all was well.

Having entered the match admitting he was struggling to find the right way to "hold the bat", Smith was able to find the boundary 14 times while importantly soaking up 130 balls from the Warriors' attack, which lacked Nathan Coulter-Nile but featured the recalled Jason Behrendorff. His dismissal arrived when slapping a wide ball from the Test No. 6 contender and part-time bowler Hilton Cartwright to point. That wicket was followed by a duck for Moises Henriques allowing Nevill to walk to the middle.

Batting without undue haste, Nevill built a 59-run stand with Mitchell Starc before also forming a union with Pat Cummins that was only curtailed by bad light. Day two will offer the chance for Nevill and the remainder of Australia's likely Gabba bowling attack to complete a dress rehearsal for their lower order duties against England - provided the selectors choose Nevill, that is.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig