Test aspirant Travis Head has revealed a lean campaign in England held him in good stead after starring in South Australia's draw with Western Australia in the first Sheffield Shield game of the season.
The teams agreed to finish the match in Adelaide shortly before tea on Monday, with WA declaring their second innings on 6-292, a lead of 265, with Hilton Cartwright on 121 and Joel Paris on 17.
SA skipper Head was named player of the match following his game-high innings of 163.
It was one of five centuries scored on a flat wicket at Karen Rolton Oval where only 25 wickets fell at a cost of almost 50 apiece.
Cartwright, captain Shaun Marsh and Cameron Green cashed in along with Head and SA newcomer Jake Carder, who was up against his former state.
SA took three wickets in the first session on Monday to have WA four down and boost their chances of an outright victory.
They blew their best chance when Head dropped Cartwright at slip on 38 off legspinner Lloyd Pope (3-123) in the second over after lunch, with WA 128 ahead.
Cartwright capitalised on the let-off and pounded Pope for 22 in the leggie's next over and finished with 12 fours and four sixes.
Head, who was dropped from the Australian team after the 2020 Boxing Day Test, had a mediocre county championship campaign with Sussex, averaging just 18.30 from 11 innings without reaching fifty.
National chief men's team selector George Bailey watched the game in Adelaide.
Asked what message his innings in Adelaide sent to selectors,Head said: "Just try to do what I did, try to start as well as I could and nice obviously to get a nice batting wicket and get in and get runs.
"I guess I had a little bit of a challenging winter against the Dukes (ball) but I think that held me in good stead.
"I felt like the whole winter over there I continued to work on my game. I got tested in different areas which is what you always want. The results weren't there but I felt I wasn't far away."
Cartwright, who scored 69 in the first innings, hadn't notched a Shield century since March 2018.
"I certainly had a lot of emotion getting into the changing rooms, it's been a long road for me," Cartwright said.
"I'm really happy I was able to get the opportunity to play this game. I was very disappointed in the first innings I felt I let one (century) go and then to get that one today I was really happy."
SA's hopes of victory soared after paceman David Grant (2-34) took two wickets in the sixth over off the day, dismissing Sam Whiteman (40) and Green (2).
Cartwright then featured in partnerships of 53, 62, 43 and 45 to shut out SA.
Australian Associated Press