Sydney: Marcus North eased mounting pressure on his Australian Ashes Test spot with a defiant century in the domestic Sheffield Shield on Monday. North's fighting final-day 101 ensured his Western Australia (WA) team held on for a draw against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
North's inconsistency was called into question by Test coach Tim Nielsen on Sunday after he was dismissed for 10 in the first innings of the Adelaide match. The WA left-hander has made five centuries from 19 Tests but averages under 38.
North's hundred was timely coming ahead of the Ashes series opener against England, starting in Brisbane on November 25. But while North got amongst the runs, his Test teammate Mike Hussey again failed, making only three to follow his first innings golden duck in the same Shield match.
Hussey now faces the task of finding form for Test cricket's biggest battle, but first are three one-dayers against Sri Lanka, starting in Melbourne on Wednesday. North said Hussey was coping well with speculation about his Test future.
"There is obviously a lot of attention, being talked about for different spots in the Australian side," North told reporters. "Huss is fine. He's been hitting the ball well, he just missed out this game. "I'm sure you'll see Michael Hussey making quite a lot of runs over the next week in the one-day series."