Watching Rob Quiney compile a sprightly innings for Australia A against the South Africans, the selectors John Inverarity and Rod Marsh would have seen plenty to like. They would also have approved of Quiney's contrition having failed to take advantage of his start, reasoning that he should have gone on to add another 100 to the 85 he compiled on an SCG pitch that offered precious little encouragement to the touring bowlers.
"I try to use it as a bit of an experience, this is the highest level I've played and one of the best attacks I've faced," Quiney said. "I wanted to soak it up as much as I could and the runs were a bonus. It was good to get a 50 but very annoying to get out for 80-odd.
"If you make a hundred it's all well and good, but I'm sure the selectors are looking for big scores, big total and to bat for a long period of time. I feel like I was hitting the ball well, and when you've got a little door open to make some more runs you've really got to push on harder."
Quiney's assessment of the touring attack was not quite a case of damning with faint praise, but he did seem somewhat underwhelmed to have scored without much discomfort from the bowling of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. An amiable character, Quiney chose to say it was not right to judge the bowlers on the SCG pitch. "I reckon making a judgement on them wouldn't be fair, because the wickets are going to be a lot different to here," Quiney said. "Steyn was swinging the ball early, Philander presented a great seam and nipped a couple around. I'm sure they'll be ready come the Gabba Test, but for me it was just exciting to face those blokes, because you see them on TV and you see how well they bowl and it was good to get a perspective facing them."
It was apprehension about the possibility of reverse swing that caused Quiney to play at a delivery he might have left and edge it to slip. A tendency to like the feel of ball on bat and so play at a few more deliveries early in his innings is one of few perceptible weak points in Quiney's game, and as an opener he slips more comfortably into the role of dasher than that of accumulator.
"Because the ball was reverse swinging I thought it was going the other way and sucked me into playing, but that was probably their plan, that's what they wanted me to do," he said. "If I had my time again I definitely would've left it alone.
"It was exciting to face them but I think the wicket may not have been as conducive for their bowling attack, but they toiled pretty hard and got enough overs under their belt for what they want. They got the ball reverse swinging earlier and did pretty well with that."
Another who did well was Steve Smith, who made 67 to help Quiney regather the innings from the early uncertainty of 3 for 44. "Every year his batting's improved, he's got very good first-class stats with the bat," Quiney said of Smith. "He's still so young, which is great signs and you don't necessarily need to rush blokes like that. He can keep churning out runs and there's a fair future for him.
"He reminds me a bit of the way David Hussey approaches his batting even in the four-day game he looks to score, his job is to score as a batter and I've seen Steve take on that approach. He came out, played some big drives and a couple of front foot pull shots early and said 'righto, I'm here'. He played beautifully until he got out."