Bancroft continues to press Ashes claims

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    Cameron Bancroft continued his late charge for an Ashes berth with an unbeaten 161 for Western Australia in their Sheffield Shield match against South Australia.

    He helped take WA to 5-381 at stumps at the WACA Ground and will resume on Tuesday with Will Bosisto who is eight not out.

    Bancroft’s knock comes off the back of a 76 not out and 86 a week ago against NSW’s Test attack.

    The No.6 spot in the Australian line-up appears the most likely way in for the opener who’d contend with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Jake Lehmann and Hilton Cartwright for the role.

    While Matthew Renshaw has failed to impress for Queensland as an opener this season it is thought the selectors are likely to consider his otherwise good recent form for the national side.

    Bancroft has also taken the gloves for his side’s last two Shield games and coach Justin Langer has backed him to to play behind the stumps for Australia if asked.

    Speaking before Bancroft’s century today, Australia selector Mark Waugh said he’d be comfortable picking a debutant for the first Test against England starting November 23.

    “Cameron’s two innings (against NSW) were really good against a Test bowling attack. That’s the sort of performance that puts you high in the order for the selectors,” Waugh said.

    “I haven’t seen a lot of his keeping but he kept very well in that game at Hurstville, didn’t really drop a ball.

    “I haven’t seen enough of his keeping just yet but I’m sure with his natural ability to catch a ball there’s no reason why if he wanted to, to keep keeping then he could do it. He’s certainly talented enough.”

    Whether other selectors feel ready to take that leap remains to be seen.

    Incumbent ‘keeper Matthew Wade has continued to struggle with the bat for Tasmania with NSW’s Peter Nevill considered the favourite to regain his spot behind the stumps.

    But batting-wise Bancroft is one of the form players early in the Shield season.

    The 24-year-old brought up his 11th first-class century and put the Redbacks bowlers to the sword on a tame day-one pitch.

    Earlier fellow Test hopefuls Shaun Marsh (17) and Cartwright (35) failed to fire.

    Captain Mitch Marsh did, rocketing to 95 before attempting one too many pull shots and getting caught behind off Daniel Worrall. He had hooked two short balls for six that over.

    All eyes were on the Test hopefuls for the Gabba though. Shaun Marsh chopped on a ball from Joe Mennie that could have spelled the end of his Ashes hopes, at least for Brisbane.

    Cartwright’s modest return comes after two ducks against NSW.

    It has been tough going for South Australia’s bowlers. Mennie had two wickets but has conceded 114 runs in 20 overs.

    WA suffered a blow before the game with Jason Behrendorff joining Nathan Coulter-Nile sidelined with a back complaint.

    © AAP 2017