Josh Philippe has narrowly missed out on a maiden century in the national set up after perishing for 94 on the first day of Australia A’s red-ball match against Sri Lanka A.
With Travis Head the only member of Australia’s top Test team playing in the four-day match, the visitors were bowled out for 379 at stumps in Hambantota.
Head hit 39 off just 29 balls, continuing his fast-scoring ways after also bashing 110 off 86 in a one-day match for Australia A last week.
Wednesday’s knock came in a chaotic opening to the red-ball fixture, with Marcus Harris (0), Matt Renshaw (2) and Henry Hunt (0) all bowled by left-armer Dilshan Madushanka (4-62) in the opening five overs.
Harris and Renshaw’s failures in particular would have frustrated the pair, given selectors made clear they could call players up from the A squad into the Test team.
But once Head helped steady the ship, Australia A managed to regain control.
Philippe hit seven boundaries and three sixes in his knock before he was eventually stumped, as the wicketkeeper-bat combined with Aaron Hardie (62) in a 128-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Philippe has played 13 white-ball games for Australia but is still considered some way down the pecking order in long-form cricket.
Allrounder Nathan McAndrew hit 92 late in the day, after only being called into the A-tour late as an injury replacement from English county cricket.