As Australia’s World Cup squad started to acclimatise to England, Ashes hopeful Marnus Labuschagne peeled off an unbeaten county ton in Wales.
Labuschagne has made it two centuries in as many first-class games for Glamorgan, reaching 128 not out at stumps on day three of his team’s clash with Gloucestershire in Newport.
Glamorgan, following on after being rolled for 250 in their first innings, hold a 146-run lead after reaching 1-359 at the end of play.
Labuschagne is the incumbent No.4 batsman in Australia’s Test side but the return of Steve Smith and David Warner mean he is no certainty to make the Ashes squad, let alone the XI for the series opener that starts on August 1.
The right-hander, a last-minute signing as cover for Shaun Marsh, scored 121 in Glamorgan’s red-ball season opener last month.
The Queenslander struggled to reproduce that form in a stretch of one-dayers but has now peeled off another first-class hundred.
Cameron Bancroft scored 70 and 25 while batting at first drop during Durham’s ongoing four-day match against Worcestershire.
Bancroft, who served a nine-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering saga, is captaining Durham while seeking to make a compelling case for a Test return.
Joe Burns, who scored 180 opening the batting during Australia’s most recent Test against Sri Lanka in February, was out for 10 after coming in at No.3 during Lancashire’s current match against Northamptonshire.
Lancashire will start their pursuit of a target of just 16 on the final day, meaning Burns may not bat again in the contest.
Former Test opener Matthew Renshaw, also batting at No.3 rather than his customary position, scored 13 and 16 for Kent during their game against Yorkshire.
Labuschagne, Bancroft, Burns and Renshaw were all left out of an Australia A squad that will tour England prior to the Ashes.
However, chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns insisted the batsmen remain in the mix for the first Test against England.
“We have made it clear that strong form with their county teams will be taken into account,” Hohns said last month.