London: Ed Cowan sent a message to Australia's selectors as the opener marked his County Championship debut for Gloucestershire with a century on the second day against Essex at Cheltenham on Thursday.
With the Australian batsmen enduring a torrid time during their recent 4-0 thrashing in the one-day international series against England, there could be places up for grabs when Michael Clarke's team return for the Ashes next.
Cowan underlined his credentials with an innings of 103, including a six and 12 fours to help Gloucestershire reach 284 for four in this Second Division clash. Cowan was denied a central contract when Australian selectors announced their 17-man list last month, but he looks determined to prove them wrong. The 30-year-old Tasmania left-hander will have another chance to impress when he leads the A team against the England Lions next month.
Cowan batted for five-and-a-half hours on a tricky pitch, facing 268 balls and shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 104 with New Zealand's Hamish Marshall. Resuming on his overnight score of 51 not out, Cowan added just 31 from 100 balls during an attritional morning session. He then shifted gears and moved swiftly to three figures after lunch, when he straight-drove seamer Reece Topley for four and then eased a full-length ball from David Masters through the covers in the next over which registered his maiden championship hundred. Masters finally ended Cowan's resistence when he trapped him on the front foot moments later.