Michael Neser was always something of a long shot to earn an Ashes debut, however the 33-year-old all-rounder has been putting together an increasingly compelling case to do just that. Circumstances could also be working Neser's favour, with Cam Green struggling and Scott Boland's spot potentially at risk following a wicketless third Test.
Neser was added to the Ashes squad prior to the series after several stunning efforts for Glamorgan in the County Championship earlier this year, before being permitted to rejoin the side following the third Test in order keep his bowling sharp. Rain ruined those plans, but Neser still made the most of his return with the bat.
He clubbed an unbeaten 176 to resurrect Glamorgan's hopes after coming to the crease with his side in dire straights at 7-93. His fellow Aussie and Queensland teammate Mitchell Swepson added 69 in a ninth-wicket stand, before Glamorgan eventually declared on day three at 9/403.
Neser is due back in the Australian camp in Manchester ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, however he may still struggle to get a look in with Josh Hazlewood likely to make a return. Regardless, Neser described it as a 'special' innings in a season in which he has already impressed with the bat and also taken a hat-trick prior to the Ashes.
"It means a lot. To put that together is quite special," he said at stumps.
"We just tried to say let's be positive and put the pressure back on them. We had a few fortunate moments and thankfully it paid off.
"It started to flatten out there a lot. It was quite tricky early on, and once you got through that new ball and it softened up, it was a nice wicket to bat on."
Michael Neser's brilliance in County Championship poses dilemma
The powerhouse knock was his second county championship century in a row, after hitting 123 against Sussex prior to joining the Aussie camp back in May. The fourth Test is set to get underway on July 19.
His most likely chance of a Test would likely come at The Oval in the series finale, if Hazlewood returned at Old Trafford next week and selectors did not want to play him in back-to-back Tests. That would then likely set up a scenario where selectors would have to choose between Boland and Neser for the final Test.
Also in the runs was allrounder Glenn Maxwell, who made 81 in 67 balls this week on his debut for Warwickshire, helping to set up Wednesday's innings and 46-run victory over Kent.
There has also been talk of Australia playing an exclusively pace attack in the fourth Test, after off-spinner Todd Murphy bowled just two overs in England's ultimately successful second innings run chase at Headingley. However head coach Andrew McDonald has ruled out such an option.
"We like a spinner," McDonald said. "We like to have a balanced attack and it gives you options, you can take pace out of the game and you become one dimensional ... without the ability to turn to a spinner.
"We'll have to assess that, but as it sits at the moment we do like to have the spinner in the team."
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