Fawad Ahmed's Ashes hopes took a hit as fellow Victorian Cameron White built his own Test credentials with a fine spell of leg-spin bowling at the MCG on Saturday.
But it was West Australian former Test batsman Marcus North who stood tallest, with a gutsy unbeaten century, to salvage a Sheffield Shield draw and revitalise his career.
North, 34, who contemplated retirement after being dropped from the WA side for their last four Shield games last season, batted for more than seven hours, finishing on 118 as WA ended the match 8-244, 136 runs behind.
Ahmed, who took 6-68 in the first innings, could have used a similar last-day haul to strengthen his chances of an Ashes Test debut.
But he went wicketless and posed few dangers.
In contrast, fellow leggie White, in superb batting form, bowled beautifully to claim four scalps in the last session to give Victoria a sniff of victory.
Shaun Marsh, who needed a big score to push his Ashes claims, fell to White for just four.
Bushrangers assistant coach Simon Helmot said White, who was named the player of the recent state one-day series and produced impressive innings of 83 and 61 in the Shield game, as well as taking a sensational slips catch, should have Test selectors' attention.
"If you've got a player who is one of the best bats in the country, can bowl some overs for you and is one of the best catchers in the country, he becomes a valuable commodity," Helmot said.
"His No.1 discipline's going very well - batting, he's now bowling very well again and his catching has always been great.
"It becomes at times irresistible."
White lavished praise on North.
"That was as good an innings as I've seen from anyone in a long time in first-class cricket," he said.
It was North's first Shield ton in more than two years.
It meant plenty to him, after he gave up the WA captaincy and was dropped last season, a dramatic fall from the height of being a Test cricketer three years ago.
"You look at your age, form and my whole career. You do well to play for your state and individually, but mainly to play for Australia," he said.
"It got to the stage last year when I thought, I'm 34 and that goal couldn't be further away and you start questioning things."But today, I stand in front of you happy that I fought through some of those days and doubts."