Phil Hughes made the most of an early life to scratch his way to a valuable half century in Australia’s tour match against Sussex at Hove.
Ed Cowan also has 50, with the opening pair batting through the first session to get Australia to 0-132 at lunch on day one of the three-day fixture.
With David Warner smashing 193 for Australia A this week, there is plenty of pressure on Hughes (70no) and the other batsmen to perform and cement their spot for the third Test at Old Trafford starting next week.
Cowan (57no), who is captaining the side in the absence of Michael Clarke, is fighting to win his place back for Manchester after being dropped for the second Test at Lord’s.
Coach Darren Lehmann wants batsmen scoring big hundreds, and there are no excuses for the Australians against an attack that’s not throwing a lot at them, and on a tiny field with a lightning-fast outfield.
After Australia won the toss, it wasn’t convincing from Hughes early on, but importantly he survived.
He was dropped at second slip in the seventh over off the bowling of Chris Jordan when he was on 22.
Sussex fast bowler Jordan (0-39) had his measure for much of the first 10 overs.
Hughes edged past the slips on a number of occasions and was lucky to miss a few pokes outside his off stump.
But before lunch he started to find his groove, and has 11 boundaries.
So far this Ashes tour, Hughes has batted in every position in the top six.
Versatility-wise it’s good for the 24-year-old that he’ll be considered anywhere in the line-up, but it also reflects his vulnerability.
Hughes made a mature 81 not out in the first innings at Trent Bridge, playing an assist role to Ashton Agar.
But since then he’s looked ordinary in making 0, 1 and 1.
Cowan had a few sketchy moments early, but settled in nicely to find the fence eight times.
The 31-year-old looked more content to bat time, unlike his rash moments at Trent Bridge.
Pressure will be on Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith who are due in at No.3 and 4.
Both have a half century each from the first two Tests, but their positions are far from sewn up.
Former England spinner Monty Panesar had figures of 0-35 from nine overs and holds out hope of playing Ashes cricket if Graeme Swann gets injured or the home side decide to play two spinners at any stage.
Australia selected 20-year-old Ashton Turner to make his first-class debut.