Alex Doolan says he lives in hope of earning a Test debut against England after a brilliant day-four century was enough to see Tasmania sneak home in a thrilling Sheffield Shield opener against NSW at Blacktown.
After Doolan fell for an elegant 132, Tasmania suffered a crippling batting collapse that saw them lose 6-23 to crumble from 2-261 to be eight down with 11 needed.
But some brave hitting from rookie tailender Clive Rose ensured the defending Shield champions secured an important two-wicket win after successfully overcoming a first-innings deficit to chase down the 295-run target.
On a slow and difficult Blacktown pitch, Doolan was just about all that stood between NSW and victory after the Tasmanians had resumed on Saturday at 1-18, with stoic opener Ed Cowan already back in the sheds.
Doolan, who emerged as a Test contender last summer, was a clear man-of-the-match after smashing 18 fours and a six and also top-scoring for his side in the first dig with a half century.
It was ideal timing for the right-hander, who has another chance to impress next week for Australia A against England with the first Ashes Test in Brisbane looming ever closer.
Australia's one day captain George Bailey is the frontrunner for the vacant No.6 spot but Clarke said Doolan had also put his hand up.
"He played very well, that was a fantastic innings no doubt about it and played a huge part in getting Tasmania home," said Clarke, who is "extremely" confident of facing Victoria next week despite limping throughout day four as a result of back soreness.
"(Doolan) deserves a lot of credit, I thought he batted with great patience but played his natural game.
"If any selectors were watching that innings it's got to help him that's for sure."
It was just the sixth first-class century of Doolan's 48-match career, and he credits a fellow Launceston product Ricky Ponting for helping him lift a gear last year.
"I think I came on in leaps and bounds last year thanks mainly to Ricky Ponting," said Doolan, who turns 28 later this month.
"Under his tutelage I learnt more in 12 months than I had in the first five years of my career.
"I've got a lot to thank him for.
"I just learnt from watching. It wasn't really anything he said, it was more just watching what he did and learning from the best.
"I think everyone lives in hope at the moment of being in that Test team.
"There is a plethora of people to pick from. I hope my name is up there with them."
Despite spinners Nathan Lyon (3-88) and O'Keefe (3-53) rallying late, it was a disappointing performance from a NSW side trying to turn around their fortunes this season and bring home a title.
The Blues were powerless to stop Doolan once he got on a roll, as he shared in consecutive 100-run stands with Ben Dunk (67) and Jonathan Wells (57) before he was ultimately trapped lbw by one that stayed low from O'Keefe.Unfortunately for NSW, the flow of wickets came a little too late and the Blues' high-profile attack struggled - particularly Josh Hazlewood.