SOUTHAMPTON: Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is eager to regain his Test place after losing out to incumbent Peter Nevill.
However, Brad Haddin´s retirement from 50-over cricket following Australia´s World Cup final win over New Zealand earlier this year opened up a spot in the one-day side and Wade seized his chance with a man-of-the-match display against England in the first ODI at Southampton on Thursday.
Australia were wobbling at 193 for six but left-handed batsman Wade´s 71 not out and his unbroken century stand with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh (40 not out) took the side to a far healthier final total of 305 for six.
Wade then held three catches behind the stumps as England were dismissed for 246 to give Australia a 59-run victory and a 1-0 lead in the five-match series ahead of Saturday´s clash at Lord´s.
Thursday´s innings was not Wade´s highest ODI score but, given his best of 75 came against non-Test side Afghanistan three years ago, it was arguably his most important.
Wade, who as a teenager overcame testicular cancer, played the last of his 12 Tests in 2013.
He wasn´t included in the Australia squad beaten 3-2 in the recent Ashes series in England, where Nevill made the most of his chance after Haddin stood down from the second Test at Lord´s to spend time with his ill daughter.
Nevill played the last four matches of the series and appears to be the man in possession of the Test slot ahead of Australia´s tour of Bangladesh later this year.
Haddin has yet to confirm his future plans but retirement appears imminent and it seems he has played his last Test.
That leaves New South Wales´ Nevill and Victoria´s Wade vying for Test selection.
“Nevill is obviously the front-runner at the moment and then I´m hoping I´m behind him,” said Wade, who moved to Melbourne from his native Tasmania after his path to first-class cricket on the island was blocked by Tim Paine.
“Nevill played pretty well during the Ashes so I´d presume he´s going to take the gloves in the Bangladesh tour but that´s fine,” the 27-year-old added.
“I´ll keep working hard and keep putting good performances forward and hopefully we can push each other as hard as we can.”
There was a moment to forget at the start of Wade´s innings when his poor call saw Shane Watson run out as the all-rounder´s woeful tour of England continued.